[Why and how evaluating driving abilities in patients with neurodegenerative diseases?]

Geriatr Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil. 2021 Jun 1;19(2):191-201. doi: 10.1684/pnv.2021.0933.
[Article in French]


Many studies have shown that individuals with neurodegenerative diseases are a risk factor for being involved in a traffic accident. However, driving is critical for social integration and independence in daily life. Lack of consensus and standardized assessment of driving abilities in these patients is problematic. This article summarizes the various multidisciplinary evaluations proposed, their limits, and the societal issues raised by such an evaluation. Several neuropsychological theoretical models have attempted to describe the cognitive processes involved in car driving. Moreover, several studies have sought to determine which cognitive functions are impaired in distinct disorders and best explained driving errors. We here describe the relationships between neuropsychological performance and driving abilities for the most frequent neurodegenerative disorders. It appears that a full neuropsychological assessment is necessary to determine accurately which patients are at risk of dangerous driving. In particular, cognitive impairments in attention, visual-spatial abilities, executive functions, and/or information processing speed appear to be the most likely involved in driving errors.

Keywords: dementia; driving; neuropsychology.

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Executive Function
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases*
  • Neuropsychological Tests