Background and objective: To assess the influence of medical conditions on road traffic accidents among a cohort of middle-aged workers and pensioners.
Study design and setting: A longitudinal study of 13,548 participants from a cohort study of French workers. Follow-up data covered the 1989-2000 period. Adjusted hazards ratios (HR(adj)) for serious accidents were computed by Cox's proportional hazards regression with time-dependent covariates adjusted for age, occupation, annual mileage in 2001, alcohol consumption, and number of reported health problems.
Results: Men who reported treated dental or gingival problems (HR(adj)=8.57, 95% confidence interval CI=2.70-27.2) and women who reported treated renal colic or kidney stones (HR(adj)=9.71, 95% CI=2.40-39.3) were much more likely to have a serious traffic accident. Treated glaucoma, hiatal hernia or gastric ulcers, and diabetes among women and treated cataract among men were also found to be associated with the risk of serious traffic accidents.
Conclusions: This study raises the hypothesis that pain and pain treatment (singly or in combination) could increase the risk of road traffic accident and confirms that medical conditions traditionally found to be associated with traffic accident involvement of older drivers are also risk factors for middle-aged drivers.