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Life After Brain Injury


Driving can be affected by a brain injury in many ways. After a brain injury you may be left with issues that make driving unsafe, such as problems with attention, concentration, visual scanning, making fast decisions, and/or quick reaction times.

By law, a person with a medical condition that could affect his ability to drive must be reported to the Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch of the Alberta Government or any registry office. Your healthcare team will be able to tell you if your condition should be reported. In some cases, the healthcare team may submit a report for you.

When reporting a disability, you must have a Medical Examination for Motor Vehicle Operators form filled out by a doctor. The Alberta Registry may suspend your driver’s license or put it on a medical hold. You’ll get your license back when it’s felt that you’re medically ready to start driving again.

Your doctor may refer you for a pre-driving assessment by an occupational therapist. If you are referred, you will be asked to have your vision tested to make sure that you meet the visual standards for driving in Alberta. If you do meet standards, you will take the first part of the pre-driving assessment in a clinic setting, not on the road.

The pre-testing could include:

  • a brief physical review to make sure you are physically able to drive
  • an assessment to see if you need any equipment modifications in the car (for example a left-sided gas foot pedal)
  • testing to see how you think, problem-solve, and if you can think ahead
  • testing your reaction time

Your doctor will get a report of the results. The Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch will decide if you are ready to start driving, if you need driving aides, or if you need to do another road test.

You may need to give more medical information in the form of a report to Driver Fitness and Monitoring. Talk with a healthcare provider such as a physiatrist, family doctor, or occupational therapist if you have questions about being able to drive again.

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