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Cognitive assessment of fitness to drive: Recommendations for Switzerland

At a glance

Description

Background

Driving allows freedom and flexibility, facilitates social contact and makes places accessible. However, cognitive impairment (e.g., acquired brain injury or dementia) may challenge the ability to drive. A driving ban can lead to loneliness and health problems (e.g., depression, low self-esteem) or dependence. This can affect social participation and even necessitate a move to a nursing or retirement home. Therefore, assessing fitness to drive is a challenge that is of public interest and requires solutions to mitigate the negative consequences of a driving ban.

Objectives

  • To describe the Swiss situation regarding the assessment of fitness to drive and compensation measures.
  • Development of a decision support tool for the assessment of fitness to drive.
  • Evaluate the compensation measures available in Switzerland and abroad and provide inclusion criteria.
  • Evaluation of how autonomous vehicles can compensate for cognitive impairments
  • Formulation of recommendations for Switzerland.

Method

To achieve these aims, the project is divided into three subprojects:

  1. Creation of a criteria-based decision aid: decision procedure with a decision tree to classify persons with cognitive impairments into four suitability levels.
  2. Description of the current situation in the Swiss cantons: Analysis of the current practice in the Swiss cantons regarding the persons assessing fitness to drive, the instruments used, the procedure and the current decision making. We also identify available compensatory measures (e.g., program to promote fitness to drive or to accompany the process after driving license withdrawal) in Switzerland and compare them with international approaches.
  3. Investigate whether vehicle automation could be a potential solution for individuals with cognitive impairments.

Benefits/Results

We will formulate recommendations for Switzerland that will serve as a basis for harmonizing the process of assessing fitness to drive among cantons. We would also like to include compensatory measures in the recommendations to prevent, as far as possible, any negative effects of the driving ban on the health of persons with cognitive impairments.

Further information

Publications