, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 377-383
Date: 16 Oct 2008

Driving and neurodegenerative diseases

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Abstract

The proportion of elderly people in the general population is rising, resulting in greater numbers of drivers with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These neurodegenerative disorders impair cognition, visual perception, and motor function, leading to reduced driver fitness and greater crash risk. Yet neither medical diagnosis nor age alone is reliable enough to predict driver safety or crashes or to revoke the driving privileges of these individuals. Driving research utilizes tools such as questionnaires about driving habits and history, driving simulators, standardized road tests utilizing instrumented vehicles, and state driving records. Research challenges include outlining the evolution of driving safety, understanding the mechanisms of driving impairment, and developing a reliable and efficient standardized test battery for prediction of driver safety in neurodegenerative disorders. This information will enable healthcare providers to advise their patients with neurodegenerative disorders with more certainty, affect policy, and help develop rehabilitative measures for driving.