Drugs, driving and traffic safety in Parkinson’s disease

  • Yvonne Kaussner
  • Hans-Peter Krüger


The driving ability of patients with Parkinson’s disease may deteriorate due to motor impairment, cognitive deficits, and the side-effects of antiparkinsonian medication. In particular, sudden sleep episodes and daytime sleepiness have been discussed as major problems in the past decade. Although evidence consistently shows that patients’ driving ability is impaired and that patients are not able to assess the impairment adequately, studies differ as to the exact influence of the aforementioned factors. This may be explained by various factors which moderate the association between driving ability and disease-related impairments (e.g. the measure of driving ability or the type and difficulty of the test or driving task being undertaken). Thus, even though all the aforementioned factors have been shown to have significant impact on driving performance, they are not sufficient to predict driving ability. Recent research has shown that the ability to compensate for disease-related impairments seems to be a crucial factor, and should be considered a major reason for the large interindividual variation of driving performance even at the same disease stage. Unfortunately, compensatory behaviour is not captured by traditional psychometric tests. Therefore, future studies should put special emphasis on the diagnosis of compensatory behaviour and how to train it. Basically, driving ability has to be assessed individually and must be considered not as a static, but as a dynamic factor which can be preserved and even improved.


Traditional Psychometric Test Sudden Sleep Episode GLIIHUHQFHV EHWZHHQ 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yvonne Kaussner
    • 1
  • Hans-Peter Krüger
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Traffic Sciences, Department of PsychologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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