To help PennDOT ensure that those individuals applying for a license and those already possessing a license are medically fit to safely drive, it is the law in Pennsylvania that health care personnel authorized to diagnose or treat disorders and disabilities must report to PennDOT any patient who has a condition that may impair their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Through this mechanism, PennDOT is able to identify several thousand drivers each year that cannot drive safely and prohibits them from operating a motor vehicle. In addition, several thousand more have a restriction placed on their driving privilege to ensure their ability to drive under conditions most optimal for them. These reports cross the age spectrum with 50 percent being drivers less than 65 years of age. Without the assistance of Pennsylvania’s health care personnel, these drivers would otherwise go unrecognized, thus posing a significant threat to public safety.
To assist health care personnel in determining if their patient can drive safely, PennDOT relies on a Medical Advisory Board, which is made up of physicians and officials from various state agencies, to create physical and mental criteria, including vision standards, for driving. If a driver does not meet these criteria, health care personnel are required by law to report the individual to PennDOT. Health care personnel are required to report the full name, address and date of birth of the patient. It is then up to PennDOT to determine if any action is needed. PennDOT, with assistance of health care personnel, determines if a person can continue to drive, or if a restriction on a license or a recall of a license is necessary.