Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/123941
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Type: Journal article
Title: Mandatory reporting by doctors of medically unsafe drivers is unpopular and poorly adhered to: a survey of sleep physicians and electro-physicians
Author: Elgar, N.
Smith, B.
Citation: Internal Medicine Journal, 2018; 48(3):293-300
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1444-0903
1445-5994
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Nathan J. Elgar and Brian J. Smith
Abstract: Background: Medical fitness to drive is one way governments control the issuing and renewal of driving licences, and some jurisdictions demand mandatory reporting (MR) of unsafe drivers by doctors. Aim: To determine the views, adherence rate and experiences of sleep physicians and electro‐physicians with regards to South Australia's (SA) MR law. Methods: Self‐administered surveys were delivered by post and email to all SA Medical Board‐registered sleep physicians (n = 49) and electro‐physicians (n = 11). Twenty‐nine sleep physicians and six electro‐physicians returned surveys, giving a 61% response rate. Results: Of the doctors, 8 agreed with MR, 19 thought reporting should be voluntary and 6 that doctors should never report. Four doctors had reported all reportable patients, five had never reported any and the rest inconsistently applied the law. MR affected doctors’ relationships with their patients as follows: 28 had experienced abuse by patients, 25 suspected patients of doctor shopping and 33 suspected patients of withholding information for fear of loss of licence. Only eight thought they were the most appropriate person to determine their patient's fitness to drive; 29 had not received any training with regards to making such determinations, yet, of these, 27 desired training. Conclusions: Widely disliked and causing deterioration of doctor–patient relationships, the MR law is ignored by some and inconsistently applied by most of the doctors surveyed. Further clinician and community education is required regardless of whether the law is abandoned, modified or left unchanged.
Keywords: mandatory reporting; automobile driving; confidentiality; education; safety
Rights: © 2017 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
DOI: 10.1111/imj.13620
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