By Santiago Noriega
A publishing on the January 31st issue of the journal Neurology by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented a study that concludes that there are no measurable safety benefits to requiring that physicians report patients with dementia to the state’s driving licensing authorities. According to the study, this practice, whether it is mandated or legally protected, is not associated with a decrease in hospitalizations from motor vehicle crashes. Lead author Yll Agimi stated that he was surprised by the result of his study because previous studies had shown that patients with dementia perform significantly worse in driving tasks. Researchers of the study collected data from the hospital reports of crash-related admissions between 2004 and 2009. Although these findings indicate that mandates requiring physicians to report dementia patients to driver’s licensing authorities are not effective, laws requiring in-person renewal and vision testing are dramatically effective in cutting the rates of car accidents involving patients with dementia. Furthermore, researchers claim their study points to age-based licensing requirements as an effective way to reduce car crash rates among patients with dementia. It was reported that in states with in-person renewal laws, car crashes were 37 to 38 percent less likely to involve patients with dementia.
Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "In-person license renewal, not physician reporting, associated with fewer crash hospitalizations among drivers with dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180131230158.htm>.