Crash Rates Decrease when Physicians Report Unfit Drivers

A recent study by the School of Medicine at the University of Toronto has showed some interesting results. When physicians report a patient is medically unfit to drive, drivers actually heed the warnings. As a result, crash rates are reduced, and fewer accidents happen on the road.

Patients were given warning about their inability to drive due to medical conditions.

For the research study, physicians Donald Redelmeier, Robert Tibshirani, and their colleagues studied over 100,000 patients over a four year period. The patients had all been given warnings about their inability to drive due to medical concerns.

It turns out when physicians tell their patients not to drive, patients actually listen. Road crashes were reduced by 45 percent. The data suggests that doctors have an influence on the choices their patients make regarding driving. Doctors could theoretically help reduce the number of car crashes yearly.

1.2 million people die every year in car crashes

Every year, an estimated 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents. About a third of those crashes involve a driver suffering from a chronic medical condition. In Ontario, physicians were required to start reporting whenever they felt a patient might be unfit to drive. And it seems as if those reports are affecting traffic habits in a positive manner.

Doctors should report unfit drivers to reduce crash rates

Surprisingly, in the U.S., only six states have a mandatory reporting requirement for physicians. Doctors don’t have to report patients who are medically unfit to drive in the majority of the U.S. This means that about 21 percent of American drivers have been diagnosed with chronic conditions that make them a dangerous liability on the road.

Unfit drivers continue to endanger roads

Some drivers should be deemed unqualified to drive because they suffer from conditions like:
  • Alcoholism
  • Epilepsy
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea

The study conducted at the University of Toronto has showed that physicians reporting unfit drivers have a strong influence on the number of crashes every day. Unfortunately, until the same mandatory reporting system is in place in the U.S., Americans will continue to see an influx of car crashes.  

Accidents happen for many reasons, and they can result in serious injury and even death. No one can stop accidents from happening, but it doesn’t change the injustice of it if someone is seriously hurt as a result of negligence.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be able to sue the other party for negligence or wrongdoing. Talking to an attorney is the best thing you can do, whether you think you have a claim or not.  Unfit drivers should not be allowed on the road, and filing a claim against them is the first step to preventing them from harming other innocent victims.