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Diseases and Drug Interactions Affecting Psychomotor Abilities

NCJ Number
Problems of Forensic Sciences Volume: 70 Dated: 2007 Pages: 125-134
Wojciech Piekoszewski
Date Published
10 pages
This paper reviews the diseases and drug interactions that can impair the psychomotor abilities needed to drive a car safely, with attention to those that require exams and testing when individuals in European Union member states apply for a driving license.
Restrictions imposed on the issuing of driving licenses to individuals with certain diseases are based on numerous clinical trials. For many years, work has continued in Europe on uniform legal regulations that pertain to requirements that must by met by applicants for a driving license. A consensus on this matter was reached on March 26, 2006, when a joint decision was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It specified minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving a power-driven vehicle. The basic disorders that disqualify an applicant from obtaining a driving license include certain mental disturbances, including severe mental disturbances that are congenital or are due to a disease, trauma, or neurosurgical operation. Disqualifying conditions are severe mental retardation and severe behavioral problems due to ageing or personality defects that seriously impair judgment, behavior, or adaptability. Diseases that may disqualify an applicant from obtaining a driving license are neurological disorders, diseases of the cardiovascular system, diabetes mellitus, and renal dysfunctions. Neurological disorders that may decrease psychomotor abilities needed for safe driving include epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Regarding drug interactions, legislation is in force that lists pharmaceuticals which are forbidden or contraindicated in individuals who drive motor vehicles. In the majority of cases, these are medications that depress psychomotor abilities needed for safe driving. These drugs include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, or antipsychotic agents. 24 references


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