Risks that Alzheimer’s Poses for Driving

Author: Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP
“Personal Injury is All we Do”

Alzheimer’s disease primarily afflicts the elderly and at what point a person with Alzheimer’s should quit driving is under study. Currently, New York does not have a law that requires physicians to report patients with Alzheimer’s to the DMV for prohibited driving. In fact, no conclusive study has delineated accepted driving guidelines for people with Alzheimer’s. However, with more baby boomers coming of age, the elderly population percentage is increasing significantly, and today issues like Alzheimer’s are more in the public eye.

A 2009 USA today article reported facts from a research study conducted on 40 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s who were given a written test and road test. The study compared them with 115 older drivers without dementia and found the following:

 Alzheimer’s patients committed 42 safety mistakes
 Other subjects committed 33 safety mistakes
 Biggest errors for drivers with Alzheimer’s were swerving or hugging the center line when an oncoming car approached
 Errors increased by 2 1/2 mistakes for every increase in 5 years of age
 Some Alzheimer’s patients drove equally as well as their counterparts without dementia
 Flunking memory tests did not indicate motor skill or visual incapability for driving
 Alzheimer patients scoring average or better on written tests were no worse drivers than those without dementia

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If you suffer injury in a car accident and you wonder whether the other driver’s age or medical condition resulted in negligence, consult an experienced lawyer. A Suffolk County car accident attorney can evaluate your accident and advise you whether to pursue a case.