In 2003, NHTSA and the American Medical Association (AMA) published the Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers. At that time, a group of trainers was established to educate medical providers on how to use the guide and to promote the use of the guide.
At the same time, NHTSA began to explore the use of medications by older drivers and its effects on driving, with the hopes of determining whether certain medications or combinations of medications increased the risk of crash involvement. Exploratory research projects and strategy sessions suggest that there will be adequate data to guide the Agency in developing programs that address medications and driving.
The audiences that will find this work useful include medical providers (including pharmacists), law enforcement, licensing agencies, social services providers, and older drivers and caregivers.
- Promote Medication/Pharmaceutical Reviews With Older Drivers
NHTSA will encourage pharmacists and doctors to conduct medication reviews with consumers, with driving safety in mind. Material will be developed for physicians, pharmacies, and for older drivers to promote the use of medication reviews with special emphasis on driving safety. This campaign will promote general older driver safety discussions in the context of medications’ effects on driving. Focus will be on medications that are known to have different (and detrimental) effects on older people, commonly referred to as the Beers Criteria. NHTSA will establish a demonstration program that is complementary to existing education programs for patients, pharmacists, and other medical providers.
- Identify and Fill Implementation Gaps of the Physician’s Guide
The Physician’s Guide, developed in partnership with the AMA, provides simple screening tools, information on their relation to safe driving, a discussion of common medical conditions that are related to functional limitations, and a reference to State licensing practices. When the guide was developed it was unknown whether it could become a standard of practice, or whether physicians could practically apply the information contained in the guide. Based on the evaluation of the implementation of the Physician’s Guide and the evaluations by the training teams, NHTSA will update the guide as needed, promote the use of the guide in other settings (e.g., medical schools) and further promote the guide with other medical practitioners (e.g., physician assistants, nurses).