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Updated Physician Guide on Older Drivers Released

AMA guide urges physician intervention with seniors to reduce motor vehicle injuries, deaths

MONDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- To enlist physicians in the effort to reduce the disproportionate rate of fatalities from car accidents among older Americans, the American Medical Association has released the second edition of the Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers.

Editor David B. Carr, M.D., of Washington University at St. Louis, and colleagues developed the guide for the AMA, with the support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in response to soaring injuries and deaths among seniors from motor vehicle accidents. According to the AMA, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among 65- to 74-year-olds and the second leading cause (behind falls) among 75- to 84-year-olds. The fatality rate for drivers 85 and older is nine times higher than the rate for drivers 25 to 69 years old.

Among the guide topics: assessing the older driver's functioning, the impact of health conditions and medications on driving, safer driving practices, physician interventions, and counseling those who can no longer drive. The guide currently is available online; a free hard copy will be available soon, and a CME course is being developed, the AMA said.

"By adopting preventive practices -- including the assessment and counseling strategies outlined in this guide -- physicians can better identify drivers at risk for crashes, help enhance their driving safety, and ease the transition to driving retirement if and when it becomes necessary," Carr and colleagues write in the preface.

AMA News Release
Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers

Physician's Briefing