Pharmacy medications and driving - delivering key information to ageing drivers
Ageing road users face an increased risk of fatality and serious injury in a crash due to their fragility and other issues associated with ageing. A high proportion of ageing driver fatalities involves multiple vehicle accidents, with many occurring at intersections. Complex traffic situations become more demanding, particularly in combination with deteriorating hearing, vision, reaction time and/or mobility. A range of research recently reviewed by the TAC also highlights that as drivers age, there is a higher prevalence of medication usage for health purposes, but the use of these medications can often and unknowingly, impair driving ability. Taking multiple medications increases the chance that driving will be impaired. Likewise, mixing of drugs with alcohol also has the potential to increase the level of impairment. Main classes of drugs that are impairing include anxiety, depression, any emotional condition, cold and cough, antihistamines, and epilepsy drugs. The TAC has undertaken a project to provide all drivers (but primarily those aged 60 years and over) with up-to-date information and associated safety advice about specific pharmacy medications and how they can impair driving ability/judgment, so that they can make an informed decision about their driving capabilities. This paper will describe the research and development of this initiative, including the comprehensive stakeholder engagement process.