Cognitive Impairment

A cognitive impairment is defined as any condition that impairs any, or several, of the mental faculties of attention, perception, comprehension, judgment, memory, reasoning, or physical action or response used by a person to understand and interact with the environment. Some cognitive impairments can affect driving ability. A severe driving-related cognitive impairment is a significant deficit or impairment of any cause, in any of the above faculties, limiting the ability of a customer with a permit/license to exercise appropriate judgment or maintain sustained attention necessary to the safe operation of a motor vehicle such that operating a motor vehicle is likely to produce an unacceptable risk to public safety.


A customer who is medically determined to have a severe driving-related cognitive impairment is not eligible for a permit/license to operate a motor vehicle and must voluntarily surrender his/her license or the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend or revoke that license.


A customer may regain driving privileges after submitting an evaluation completed by his/her health care provider confirming that the customer no longer has a severe driving-related cognitive impairment. A health care provider may use the Registry of Motor Vehicles' Medical Evaluation Form to deliver this evaluation.


The evaluation to regain driving privileges (to be completed by the health care provider) should contain an assessment of cognitive function, including a statement verifying that:

1.  There is a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the customer has the cognitive capacity to safely operate a motor vehicle

2.  Any currently prescribed medications or dosages related to cognitive function are not likely to interfere with the safe operation of a motor vehicle


A health care provider who believes that a patient’s cognitive impairment is not severe enough to recommend surrender of the license, but that the patient's driving ability should be tested before re-licensing, may request a competency road test administered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles be completed.


The Registry of Motor Vehicles will then determine if the customer is eligible for licensure or to be issued a learner's permit.