Self-Reporting by Unsafe Drivers Is, with Education, More Effective than Mandatory Reporting by Doctors

Nathan Elgar, Adrian Esterman, Nicholas Antic, Brian Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: Health professionals are frequently required to report to relevant authorities all drivers who are potentially unsafe due to medical conditions. We aimed to assess both the effect of mandatory reporting (MR) on patient self-predicted behavior and what factors might encourage unsafe drivers to self-report to these authorities. Methods: We included 5 questions in the South Australian Health Omnibus Survey, an annual, community based, face-to-face survey. We asked (1) how subjects would behave towards their doctor in light of MR if they believed their licences were at risk due to a medical condition; and (2) which factor(s) would cause them to self-report to the same authorities. Results: Responses to 3,007 surveys (response rate 68.5%, age 15-98) showed that 9.0% would avoid diagnosis, lie to their doctor, or doctor shop in order to keep their licence; 30.8% were unaware of the legislated requirement to self-report; and 37.9% were unaware of potentially jeopardizing insurance support if they failed to comply. If educated in these 2 areas, warned about the dangers of driving against medical advice and instructed to do so by their doctor, then 95.8% of people would self-report to the authorities, a number significantly higher than could be reported by their doctors (91.0%). Conclusions: MR causes 9.0% of people to predict to behave towards their doctor in a manner that reduces road safety. With education and encouragement to do so, more people will self-report to the authorities than could be reported by their doctors via the MR pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Automobile driving
  • Confidentiality
  • Education
  • Mandatory reporting
  • Safety


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