Medical Reporting is a very effective mechanism for identifying medically impaired drivers. Over 27,000 new reports are submitted from health care personnel each year to PennDOT. Overall, approximately 22 percent of these individuals have medical impairments significant enough to merit recall of their driving privileges. An additional 21 percent of health care personnel reports result in restrictions placed on the individualís driving privilege. These reports also cross the age spectrum - 50 percent involve drivers under 65 years of age.
No other options are as effective as Medical Reporting. Some states have statutory requirements for self-reporting, but research indicates an extremely high rate of noncompliance. Given the enormous social and economic pressure to drive, the impaired driver has a vested interest in not reporting conditions that impair the ability to drive safely when it will result in the recall of his/her driving privilege. In addition, the driver is not the most objective judge of his/her own level of impairment.
To date, no study has directly compared the effectiveness of mandatory medical reporting versus other mechanisms of ensuring medical fitness to drive. However, mandatory reporting statutes have been demonstrated to have a positive impact on awareness of the issue by health care personnel and their sense of having a "duty to report."
The following references contain evidence of the positive impact of medical reporting:
Cable G, et al (2000). Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of geriatricians regarding patients with dementia who are potentially dangerous automobile drivers: a national survey. Journal of American Geriatric Society, 48, 14-17.
Salinsky MC (1992). Epilepsy, driving laws, and patient disclosure to physicians. Epilepsia, 33(3), 469-472.
McManus J. A survey of Oregon emergency physicians to assess mandatory reporting knowledge and reporting patterns regarding intoxicated drivers in the State of Oregon. Academic Emergency Medicine 2005; 12:896-899.