Medical interventions to reduce motor vehicle collisions

Redelmeier, D.A., and Tien, H.C.
Canadian Medical Association

The objective of this literature review was to identify effective medical interventions that could be used by physicians to prevent vehicle crashes among their patients. Libraries were searched using a set of keywords and published studies involving randomization or rigorous observational analytical methods in the past 30 years were considered for inclusion along with selected governmental background documents.

The study included an overview of societal interventions to prevent crashes, as well as explored restrictions that are recommended for reversible medical conditions. With regard to research that provides insight into the effectiveness of medical warnings to patients, there is some variation in results. While one study produced a 45% reduction in serious crashes, among 11 studies that utilized a variety of research methods to examine this topic, there were 4 studies that indicated warnings had no significant effect. Moreover, 3 studies reported modest benefits, and the other 4 were inconclusive. However, the 2 studies with the most rigorous designs revealed a relative risk reduction of 13% and 32% for road crashes. Collectively these results may indicate that some patients may not adhere to medical warnings.

The authors suggested that the greater use of medical warnings by physicians may have benefits, and incentives may encourage their use among physicians. They also proposed that physicians may play a more prominent role in reducing road crashes in light of anticipated changes in the age demographic of Canadian drivers.

Redelmeier, D. A., & Tien, H. C. (2014). Medical interventions to reduce motor vehicle collisions. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 186(2), 118-124.