New guidelines help identify problem drivers with dementia

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A group of neurologists has released a set of guidelines to help physicians and family members determine when people with dementia should give up their car keys and stop driving.

People with mild dementia are at a higher risk for car crashes and other automotive incidents, according to the guideline's authors. Still, as many 76% of people with mild dementia are able to pass standard on-the-road driving exams.

"It is important that the decision to stop driving be directed by a doctor who is trained and experienced in working with people with dementia and their families," said lead author Dr. Donald J. Iverson, who is with the Humboldt Neurological Medical Group, Inc. in Eureka, CA., and fellow at the American Academy of Neurology.

Caregivers and family members can also be on the lookout for warning signs, which include: decreased miles being driven; collisions; moving violations; avoiding certain driving situations, such as driving at night or in the rain; aggressive or impulsive personality traits. The guidelines appear in the April 12 online edition of the journal Neurology, and were also presented April 12 at the American Academy of Neurology's Annual Meeting in Toronto.