The 1994 International Consensus Conference on Dementia and Driving: A Brief Report

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Abstract

Summary

A possible relationship exists between the increased relative crash risk of older drivers and the prevalence of age-related diseases such as dementia. However, although dementia affects cognitive functions essential for safe driving, the evaluation of driving competence in demented persons is problematic. A clear-cut policy, intended chiefly for primary care physicians, is still lacking. In recognition of this fact, the Swedish National Road Administration invited a group of researchers to review existing research and to formulate a consensus on the issue of driving and dementia. The consensus group suggested that physicians should routinely make a cursory evaluation of the mental condition of their older driving patients. When signs of cognitive impairment are detected, possible influence on visuospatial skills, attention, judgment, and memory functions should be carefully considered. Information from caregivers on past and current driving performance as well as functions relating to activities of daily living (ADL) should be taken into account. Consensus was reached that a diagnosis of moderate to severe dementia indicates sufficient cognitive impairment to preclude driving. In addition, diagnosed mildly demented individuals or nondiagnosed cognitively impaired individuals with functional deterioration should be considered for specialized assessment of driving competence.

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