Influence of chronic illness on crash involvement of motor vehicle drivers: 2nd edition

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report # [2009]

Authors: Charlton. J.L., Koppel, S., Odell, M., Devlin, A., Langford, J., O'Hare, M., Kopinathan, C., Andrea, D., Smith, G., Khodr, B., Edquist, J., Muir, C., & Scully, M.

Full report in .pdf format [3.3MB]


A significant issue for consideration in road safety is the impact of medical conditions on crash involvement and risk of injury. This aim of this project was to update the first edition report: Charlton et al. (2004). Influence of Chronic Illness on Crash Involvement of Motor Vehicle Drivers. Report No. 213. Clayton , Australia : Monash University Accident Research Centre. The report reviews the evidence for the influence of chronic illness and impairments on crash involvement of motor vehicle drivers for the period May-2003 to mid-2009, builds on previous research and provides an updated review of evidence since the last report. A number of methodological issues are discussed and recent research findings are critically evaluated. A risk rating system was applied to all medical conditions of interest. This provided a means of identifying those conditions that presented the greatest risk. Based on both new evidence and pre-May 2003 evidence, eight conditions were found to have at least a moderately elevated risk of crash involvement (relative risk greater than 2.0) compared with their relevant control group. These comprised the same conditions identified in the 2004 report: alcohol abuse and dependence, dementia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, psychiatric disorders (considered as a group), schizophrenia, sleep apnoea and cataracts. Guidelines regarding fitness to drive from selected jurisdictions were also considered in the light of evidence for crash risk. These comparisons revealed a number of differences across the jurisdictions and highlighted some inconsistencies with the available evidence for crash risk. A number of conclusions are presented which may contribute to the formulation of recommendations for managing the risk of injury crashes associated with medical conditions. The findings of this review also highlighted the need for a cooperative international approach to future research using population-based, prospective studies to advance scientific knowledge linking impairment from medical conditions and crash risk.

Sponsoring organisation - The second edition project report on Influence of chronic illness on crash involvement of motor vehicle drivers was funded by VicRoads and an Australian Research Council grant (Project ID LP0560272)