Fitness-To-Drive: Evidence Based Decisions For Medically At Risk Drivers
Licensing authorities face the escalating challenge of an aging population with an increasing number of chronic medical conditions. Many of these chronic health problems have a significant, detrimental effect on driving competence, in particular when cognition is affected. Crash risk for cognitively impaired individuals, has been shown to be similar to that of alcohol impaired drivers. This is cause for concern as cognitive impairment is highly prevalent in our society, with one in four people over the age of 65 currently having significant deficits. In Australia, licensing departments rely heavily upon recommendations from medical professionals regarding individual's fitness to drive. However, diagnosis alone is inadequate for making licensing decisions & functional capacity also needs to be considered. Unfortunately, it is difficult to objectively determine the functional impact of a person's cognitive impairment in a clinical setting without the provision of appropriate tools. In response to this growing need, the DriveABLE assessment protocol was developed. DriveABLE has worked alongside licensing departments and health professionals for many years to provide an evidence based solution to identifying medically at-risk drivers and objectively determining fitness to drive. Although having been used widely throughout Canada & the USA, this best practice technology has only recently become available in Australia & New Zealand. The DriveABLE assessment protocol is presented as a systematic, evidence based solution to this growing road safety issue.