Driving in neurological disease

Matthew Rizzo, Thomas Dingus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND- Motor vehicle crashes pose a serious public health problem. Many serious crashes are due to faulty driving by unfit operators, including several categories of neurological patients. Unfortunately, there seems to be little agreement among health professionals, driving experts, and state government on how to advise these individuals. REVIEW SUMMARY- This article reviews the question of driving in neurological patients. Decisions on driver fitness should be based on empirical observations of performance and not on criteria of age or medical diagnosis, which alone are unreliable predictors. Relevant data can be collected either on a road test or off-road, using different probes of vision and cognition, in the setting of a Department of Motor Vehicles office or medical clinic. The use of a driving simulator is also feasible. The predictive value of these performance assessments is a topic of active research. CONCLUSION- Understanding how performance data from off-road and on-road observations correlate with real-life crash risk is a key step toward developing safe, fair, and accurate means of predicting driver fitness. One potential benefit is the prevention of injury, and another is the preservation of mobility and independence of individuals whose licenses are being unduly revoked because of old age or illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-168
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1996


  • Attention
  • Brain damage
  • Car crashes
  • Dementia
  • Driving simulation
  • Visual function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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