Physical health

Drivers must be fit and well enough to drive. Use this page to access research on medical conditions known to impair driving, and ways to ensure drivers are medically fit to drive.

Associations Between Falls, Balance Confidence, Driving Speed, Braking, and Other Driving Practices in Parkinson's Disease
University of Waterloo, Canada, 1/3/14

People with Parkinson’s Disease who have mobility issues, such as balance problems, are more likely to also show poor driving practices including harsh braking.

Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases
WHO, 2014

In its latest global report on non-communicable disease, the benefits of active travel and alcohol limits for drivers are highlighted by the WHO.

Seniors are willing to discuss driving abilities
Liberty Mutual Insurance, 24/06/14

84% of US drivers over 70 say they are open to talking about limiting or stopping driving due to health, and most would prefer to discuss this with their children (66%) or doctor (60%).

Long-term chronic diseases and crash responsibility
INSERM, 12/06/14

Drivers with epilepsy, asthma, type 1 diabetes, or alcoholic liver disease, are significantly more likely than drivers without these conditions to cause serious crashes.

Obesity and seatbelt use
Erie County Medical Center, 22/01/14

Severely obese drivers in the US are 67% less likely than normal-weight drivers to wear seat belts, which are often too short for larger bodies.

One night CPAP withdrawal impairs performance at a driving simulator task
Queensland University of Technology, 22/01/14

Drivers with sleep apnoea performed worse on a driver simulator after a full night’s sleep without treatment than after only five hours sleep with treatment.

Physician warnings for unfit drivers decrease road crashes
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, 02/10/12

Warnings from doctors that patients are unfit to drive led to a 45% decrease in crashes in Ontario.

Risk of Injurious Road Traffic Crash After Prescription of Antidepressants
CESIR Research Group, 20/09/12

Drivers taking anti-depressants are more likely to crash when treatment starts or is modified.

An investigation of the effects of the common cold on simulated driving performance
The University of Leeds, 19/07/12

Drivers with colds have slower response times.

Medical conditions and their relationship with subsequent motor vehicle injuries
The University of Western Ontario, 20/06/12

Drivers with health problems such as asthma or arthritis are more likely to be involved in crashes, finds The University of Western Ontario.

Sleep apnoea identification
St James University Hospital, 20/06/12

Drivers with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea can be identified using driving simulators, discover researchers at St James University Hospital.

Reference pending
DeVille Almond, 20/09/11

Almost 80% of 226 drivers surveyed at UK motorway service stations had poor physical health, diets or were overweight. Research shows being overweight and unfit increases risk of sleep apnoea.

Factors associated with obstructive sleep apnea among commercial motor vehicle drivers
Meharry Medical College, 11/02/11

Driver medical examinations which look at obesity, hypertension and diabetes may be more effective in diagnosing obstructive sleep apnoea than studying its symptoms.

Driving anxiety and fear in young older adults in New Zealand
Massey University, NZ, 07/12/10

Up to 20% of New Zealand drivers experience anxiety and fear whilst driving which can impact upon mobility and independence.

PRAISE: Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees
European Transport Safety Council, 01/05/10

Measures to improve the health of drivers, such as drug testing, combating tiredness, and encouraging healthy eating and exercise, reduce crashes.

Drivers with autistic spectrum disorders are slower to respond to pedestrian hazards
University of Nottingham, 05/11/09

Drivers with autistic spectrum disorders are slower to respond to pedestrian hazards than vehicle hazards.

Mental illness and road safety
Source pending, 01/05/09

Out of 120 psychiatric outpatients who held driving licences and drove regularly, only 24 passed the four tests required to obtain or renew a driver’s licence, and 80% failed in at least one.

Driving performance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
The Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Germany, 04/03/09

Drivers with COPD (chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both) in driver simulator trials had significantly higher rates of crashes, regardless of the severity of their disease, than healthy drivers.


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