August 7, 2014 12:38 pm

Questions raised about seniors with medical conditions on Sask. roads

Watch the video above: Driving on Saskatchewan roads with medical conditions

SASKATOON – Last week, an elderly man suffering from dementia was reported missing in Saskatoon. His family believed he could be driving in the province.

He was located but it raises the question about drivers with medical conditions – is it safe for them to be on the road?

Last year, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) suspended over 860 licences due to medical conditions and almost 2,500 in the past three years.

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“When it comes to medical conditions that would impact someone’s ability to drive safely, those must be reported to SGI,” said Kelley Brinkworth, with SGI.

Not every medical condition reported to SGI automatically results in a suspension. Each case is handled individually and any action depends on the driver’s specific condition.

“If you have a medical condition and you haven’t reported that to SGI and if you then get into a crash you’re coverage maybe denied, so it’s very important that you do report that condition to SGI,” said Brinkworth.

Drivers themselves, family and health professionals can report medical conditions.

“There is an obligation the legislation says that if a physician has reasonable grounds to believe that a patient ought not to be driving that they are required to report to SGI,” said Bryan Salte, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan associate registrar.

An SGI medical review unit makes the decision whether a driver is fit to be on the road.

Salte says it’s a grey area.

“In terms of what is something that should take you to that threshold and not all conditions are the same and so there’s some circumstances which are clearly obvious that you should make a report,” said Salte.

In Saskatchewan, once people get their licence they don’t need to take another drivers’ test, whereas in other provinces, once you reach a certain age another test is required.

“It’s one of those things as a society that I can see perhaps we ought to be looking at is should you be taking a drivers’ licence examination when you turn to be 70,” said Salte.

SGI’s medical review unit has been around since the 1970’s. Physicians have been required to report medical conditions since the 90’s.

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