A Pilot Study to Test Multiple Medication Usage and Driving Functioning

The use of medications and multiple medications becomes more prevalent with increasing age. This pilot study explored the relationship between polypharmacy and driving functioning through separate but related research activities. A patient-level administrative claims database containing prescription information as well as E-codes identifying the incidence of motor vehicle injuries was mined, yielding combinations of drugs that became inclusion criteria in a following field study of driver performance among 44 older adults (range: 57 to 89; mean: 79). Driving performance evaluations by an Occupational Therapist/Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (OT/CDRS), a brake response time measure, and functional screening measures were conducted for the study sample, whose drug profiles were documented through a “brown bag” review by a licensed pharmacist. The relationship between medication usage and each of these outcome measures was examined in descriptive data summaries and regression analyses. The driving evaluations were carried out in a dual-brake vehicle also equipped with speed sensor (OBD-2), Global Positioning System (GPS) logger, and two miniature video cameras (driver’s face and forward road views) plus digital recorder. A subsample allowed the same instrumentation package to be installed in their private cars for a week of independent driving; this supported an analysis of within-subject variability in driving behavior during a formal driving evaluation versus independent driving. Additional project activities included a current (to October 2007) review of the literature on the prevalence of prescription medications and effects on driving of specific drugs/drug classes. The feasibility of conducting future studies using large, administrative claims databases was critically examined, with an overview of candidates and evaluation of their suitability for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research. This report concludes with a discussion of project findings and recommendations for future research.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    TransAnalytics, LLC

    1722 Sumneytown Pike, Box 328
    Kulpsville, PA  United States  19443

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27599

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    Office of Behavioral Safety Research, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Staplin, Loren
    • Lococo, Kathy H
    • Gish, Kenneth W
    • Martell, Carol
  • Publication Date: 2008-6


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 138p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01108452
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-810 980
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-02-C-85121, Task Order 007
  • Created Date: Aug 18 2008 9:10AM