Research In Action
Research In Action
Pennsylvania is one of six U.S. states that requires clinicians to notify the state department of transportation about patients with medical conditions that could impair their ability to drive safely. Because of this, we are interested in understanding how clinicians, particularly neurosurgery and neurology providers, approach decisions related to patient fitness to drive.
Our research team recently published a paper in Traffic Injury Prevention that describes the results of a survey which aimed to understand neurosurgery and neurology providers’ knowledge and attitudes about fitness-to-drive assessments, including the frequency with which they reported patients to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and what resources are needed to improve their practices.
Driving Risks with Neurological Impairments
Referrals to PennDOT
Only 20% of inpatient providers and 50% of outpatient providers usually or always discussed driving with patients. 54% of providers reported having ever filed a report about a patient with PennDOT. Providers cited concern for seizures as the most common reason to initiate a discussion about safe driving or to report a patient to PennDOT. Familiarity with reporting laws was significantly associated with likelihood of reporting to PennDOT. About one-third of providers had referred a patient to a driver rehabilitation program within the last year, and only about half had received some form of informal training (e.g., independent reading/advice from a mentor or colleague) on the programs.
Future Directions For Providers
Handout for patients containing information about driving guidelines Information for providers about driver reporting guidelines in Pennsylvania and surrounding states Information about local driver rehabilitation programs Standardized driver screening tools