Drivers with Diabetic Neuropathy May Need Assistance Controlling Accelerator Pedal Interview with:
foot-neuropathyMonica Perazzolo

Research Centre for Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine
School of Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering,
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences
University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our research on motor control in diabetes focussed on the effect of diabetic peripheral neuropathy on driving. Drivers with diabetic peripheral neuropathy showed a less well controlled use of the accelerator pedal and sometimes larger, faster steering corrections needed to stay in lane when driving a simulator compared to healthy drivers and people with diabetes but no neuropathy.

Despite these negative findings, an important result is that drivers with diabetic peripheral neuropathy demonstrated an improvement in their driving with practice. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is an important and neglected factor in affecting control of the accelerator pedal when driving. The potential to improve this driving skill with practice points to the necessity of recognising the problem and studying it further to develop helpful solutions. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: A clinical based intervention that uses a driving simulator to assess any driving impairment could be the first step to help them through a process that includes:

  • driving impairment diagnosis,
  • information about possible solutions
  • help offering practical solutions (skill-specific training, in-car device). Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Our main purpose is to use our findings to help people with diabetes to drive safely for longer.  


Altered accelerator pedal control in a driving simulator in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy
M. Perazzolo, N. D. Reeves, F. L. Bowling, A. J. M. Boulton, M. Raffi,
D. E. Marple‐Horvat
First published: 29 March 2019

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Last Updated on May 17, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD