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Health care professionals failing to tell patients they are not fit to drive
Date:1/14/2010

Many healthcare professionals are failing to advise people with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive whether they should get behind the wheel, according to research from the University of Warwick.

Researchers from the University's Warwick Medical School have found many healthcare professionals are failing to tell patients with certain conditions such as diabetes or visual impairment if they are not fit to drive.

In a study undertaken for the Department for Transport, the research team explored the knowledge and attitudes of healthcare professionals towards advising patients about their fitness to drive. The researchers recruited 1519 health professionals, 358 patients and 55 medical school personnel to the study.

The research team, led by Dr Carol Hawley, Principal Research Fellow at Warwick Medical School, found doctors in training received little tuition on medical aspects of fitness to drive.

They also found that although most healthcare professionals were aware of the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) guidelines stipulating fitness to drive, many were unable to reliably distinguish between medically unfit drivers, borderline drivers and fit drivers. When presented with paper case studies of patients only 7.5% scored all of them correctly.

When presented with an acted scenario of a patient who was unfit to drive, 75% of healthcare professionals failed to offer advice on driving. The results also showed 40% of healthcare professionals agreed they did not have sufficient knowledge of the DVLA Fitness to Drive guidelines.

As part of the current DVLA licensing system there is a legal obligation on individuals to declare the onset or worsening of any medical condition that may affect their fitness to drive. This requirement is publicised on driving licence application forms and in accompanying information leaflets.

Advice for the public on the medical standards of fitness t
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Contact: Kelly Parkes-Harrison
k.e.parkes@warwick.ac.uk
0044-247-657-4255
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

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