Drivers with Dementia are 'as Dangerous as Gunmen'

By James O Malley on at

Dementia sufferers should have more checks before being allowed to drive, according to the verdict of one group of doctors who are today tabling a motion at the British Medical Association Conference.

According to The Telegraph, GP Dr Peter Holden is leading the motion, because he reckons that dementia could make driving dangerous. He said "I expect that this would only affect four or five patients per practice where this is an issue, but we wouldn’t accept four or five marauding gunmen".

Vivid imagery aside, what he wants to see is a new mechanism for reporting suspected dementia, and for DVLA systems to be updated to hold this information. Crucially, he still wants the DVLA to ultimately be the agency for revoking driving licences, not individual doctors.

So while the problem isn't currently recorded, he reckons it is still fairly widespread: "Those in the front line know it’s an issue, most of us can say anecdotally in a practice that’s 8,000-10,000, it’s probably five or six cases a year, but would you tolerate five or six gunmen marauding in a year? No you wouldn’t."

Rumours of a second motion asking "WTF is with all of the marauding gunmen analogies, Pete?" currently only exist inside my head.

As the Telegraph identifies, what complicates this issue is that poor public transport means that without being able to drive, some elderly people could be left with very limited mobility - so that trade-off will have to be considered. [The Telegraph]

Image credit: Shutterstock/Deymos.HR