Motor Vehicle Crashes and Dementia: A Population-Based Study

The objectives of this study were to do the following: using the Western Australian Data Linkage System (WADLS), compare the frequency of motor vehicle crashes of drivers aged 50 and older with a diagnosis of dementia with that of a group without dementia in the 3 years before and 3 years after an index hospital admission. The retrospective study design was population-based and data was obtained from the Western Australian Death Registrations using the WADLS from 2004 to 2010 and from Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data System. In order to identify individuals involved in a crash as the driver from 2001 to 2013, the Integrated Road Information System was used. Individuals with dementia with an index hospital admission (n = 1,666, 34%) and individuals without dementia (n = 3,636, 66%) who had been involved in at least one motor vehicle crash as the driver from 2001 to 2013 were the participants. Involvement in a police-reported crash as the driver was the measurement used. Results showed that the occurrence of one or more crashes as the driver in the dementia group (43% had a crash as the driver) was higher in the 3 years before the index hospitalization than in the comparison group (30% had a crash as the driver). In the 3 years after an index hospital admission with dementia, the risk of a crash was 93% less for those with dementia than for those without dementia (incidence rate ratio = 0.07, 95% confidence interval = 0.06–0.09) compared to the previous 3 years, after adjusting for relevant confounders. In conclusion, older drivers may be at greater risk of crashing before diagnosis or in the early stages of dementia, although they may give up driving after a diagnosis of dementia. In order to identify at-risk drivers with early dementia and prevent crashes, better methods are needed.


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  • Accession Number: 01607009
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2016 11:32AM