19 Serial examinations on persons injured in accidents and hospitalized in 14 hospitals in 7 regions of Switzerland revealed that in more than 20% of these people alcohol (0.8% and above) plays a part. Driving experiments with 200 volunteer policemen of the Busel police corps showed that, with a probability of more than 99%, an alcohol concentration of 0.8% increase serious mistakes by more than 100%. From this fact is must be concluded that alcohol is the most frequently used and the most dangerous toxic substance which interferes with the driving aptitude. 2. The main danger of the psychopharmaca lies less in their direct effect than in their enhancing the effect of alcohol. Therefore, every patient for whom psychopharmaca are prescribed should be warned of the alcohol-potentiating effect of these drugs. 3. We have no exact statitics concerning the frequency of accidents under the effect of psychotropic substances. A Swiss and an extensive American study of people injured in traffic accidents allow one to suppose that psychopharmaca of medical importance in traffic play a part in 4 to 5% of these persons. 4. Hypnotics, sedatives and analgetics - especially because of their enhancing effect on alchol - can seriously interfere with a person's driving aptitude. Hypnotics, whether taken only in the morning hours or obusively in daytime are also dangerous because of their after-effects during the day (fatigue somnolence stupor and, in case of overdosage, ataxia). 5. Central stimulants - especially amphetamine and methamphetamine - are contraindicated when driving a vehicle, since, upon cessation of the stimulating effects, they may lead to menacing circulatory collapse and to unexpected sleepiness. In persons addicted to drugs of the amphetamine type, toxic psychosis with hallucinations and persecution mania occurring with the use of high doses can seriously reduce the driving aptitude. 6. Various psychopharmaca - particularly those with centrally sedating spectra - such as neuroleptics, antidepressives and tranquillzers as a rule have an adverse effect on the driving aptitude only at the start of the treatment. In outpatients, these drugs should be prescribed in initially low doses with the principal dose to be given at night. It is advisable to prescribe the psychopharmaca to be taken in the beginning only before bedtime until a certain adaptation to the resulting symptoms of fatigue has taken place. The patients should be instructed not to drive before they know the individual mode of reaction and the side effects. 7. The package folders of psychopharmaca should point out the possible interference with the driving aptitude and above all the enhanced effect of alcohol. 8. Finally it should be stated that, strictly speaking, the psychopharmaca, with correct dosing and indication, by improving the mental disorders can improve and restore the driving aptitude in patients suffering from fear, depressive states and psychoses.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Verlag Hans Huber

    Laenggass-Strasse 76
    3000 Bern 9,   Switzerland 
  • Authors:
    • Kielholz, P
    • HOBI, V
  • Publication Date: 1974-9

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00083681
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 22 1975 12:00AM