Driver Licensing

What is a cognitive impairment?

Cognitive impairment is a specific phrase used to describe medical changes in the brain. These range from mild changes - perhaps as a result of multiple medications - through to dementia and Alzheimer's. Cognitive impairment can also be caused by heart disease, diabetes, brain injuries and numerous other medical issues.

Cognitive impairment can seriously affect a person's ability to drive safely, which requires complex skills such as attention, memory, judgment and decision-making. Studies have shown that drivers with cognitive impairment are at the highest risk of an at-fault crash, compared to a wide range of other common medical conditions.

Complicating matters is the fact that people with cognitive impairment may be unaware of their condition and the driving issues they create. As a result, they are less likely to recognize when they should stop driving.

Manitoba Public Insurance uses DriveABLE assessments to determine whether a person with cognitive issues is fit to drive. These assessments test the specific cognitive skills essential for safe driving. They are used when the driver does not have additional physical conditions and does not require the use of adaptive equipment when behind the wheel. Drivers who require adaptive equipment or who have additional physical conditions are referred to the Driver Assessment and Management Program (DAMP).