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AMA Offers Tool to Help Physicians Address the Driving Safety of Older Patients

For immediate release:
May 14, 2012

CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced a free Web-based educational course to help physicians address the driving safety of their older patients. “Medical Fitness to Drive: Is your Patient at Risk?” was created by the AMA in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help physicians identify when medical conditions may impair their patients’ ability to drive.

“As the number of older drivers with medical conditions expands, patients and their families will often turn to physicians for guidance on safe driving,” said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, M.D.  “Physicians can use the tools and information contained in this course to better address safe driving practices with their patients – promoting the safety of our patients and our roads.”

The AMA encourages physicians to make driver safety a routine part of their geriatric medical services. “Medical Fitness to Drive” will provide assessment tools, case studies and additional resources for physicians to better evaluate and counsel older drivers in their care. The AMA conducted a pilot study for this Web-based course and 87 percent of physicians who participated said that they learned specific techniques or tools that will enhance their practices regarding older drivers.

“Getting older shouldn’t mean the end of driving for our nation’s seniors—but medical problems can sometimes impair an individual’s ability to drive safely,” said David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The AMA’s Web-based tool should help physicians assess patients’ capacity to operate a vehicle and help keep everyone on our roads more safe.”

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of injury-related death in adults over 65. Older drivers have a higher risk of traffic fatalities because they are considerably more fragile and more likely to suffer a fatal injury in the event of a crash than their younger counterparts.

“Medical Fitness to Drive” will be available for continuing educational credits for physicians and other health care professionals. For more information on older driver safety, visit www.ama-assn.org/go/olderdrivers.

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Contact:

AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4430

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