I've posted several articles on our site about the risk of West Palm Beach traffic accidents caused by drivers with medical conditions that affect driving. I've also written about the difficulty in convincing aging family members that it is time to give up the keys. A new Canadian study suggests that perhaps the most effective way to convince a loved one that it's time to stop driving is to have a doctor break the news.
According to the study which was published in the September 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, when a doctor advises a patient to stop driving or drive with extra caution the likelihood of that patient being injured in an accident is reduced by 45 percent.
The study tracked more than 100,000 drivers who had been told by their doctor that they were potentially unfit to drive. The researchers looked at the number of car crashes these patients had in the three years before the warnings were given and in the year after.
The participants included patients diagnosed with epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and advanced diabetes as well as people who had previously suffered from dizzy spells and stroke.
- Number of crashes in three years prior to receiving doctor warning: 1,430
- Number of crashes in the year after a doctor's warning: 273
- Crashes were reduced by 45%
But the authors warn that this population was still more likely than the general population to be involved in a serious accident.
The warning also had an effect on the doctor-patient relationship. One-third of patients who were advised to stop driving made fewer visits to the doctor in the following year. Ten percent did not come back. The authors suggest that doctors recommend limiting driving, rather than stopping, whenever possible. They suggested that a graduated license program could help medically unfit patients drive safely under some conditions.
Palm Beach accident injury attorney David Glatthorn helps those injured in Florida car accidents. Learn what you can do to protect your Florida accident injury claim in David Glatthorn's book, The Florida Accident Workbook: Tools, Tips & Tactics to Resolve Your Injury Claim, or contact David Glatthorn at 866-413-5525.