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Driving and dementia: a clinical update for mental health professionals
  1. Charlotte L Allan1,
  2. Sophie Behrman2,
  3. Nina Baruch3,
  4. Klaus P Ebmeier2
  1. 1Centre for the Health of the Elderly, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle, UK;
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK;
  3. 3Older People's Services, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Charlotte Allan; Charlotte.allan{at}


Most people with mild dementia can continue to drive, but dementia is progressive and many patients and clinicians will be faced with questions about driving safety in the course of their illness. Determining when this happens is a complex decision, with risks of personal and public safety needing to be weighed against individual patient benefits of driving in terms of autonomy, independence and well-being. Decisions need to make reference to cognitive abilities, as well as other factors including physical comorbidity, vision, mobility, insight and history of driving errors and accidents. Deciding to stop driving, or being required to stop driving is often difficult for patients to accept and can be a particularly problematic consequence of a dementia diagnosis. Legal frameworks help in decision-making but may not provide sufficient detail to advise individual patients. We review the current guidelines and evidence relating to driving and dementia to help clinicians answer questions about driving safety and to consider the full range of assessment tools available.

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  • Contribution to the new EBMH section: Old age psychiatry

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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