Accidents & Violence, Aging, Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA / 19.01.2024 Interview with: Patricia Di Ciano, PhD Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Toronto Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute Collaborative Program in Neuroscience What is the background for this study? Response: It is now fairly well established that cannabis has a detrimental effect on driving. The most consistently reported effect of cannabis on driving is to increase ‘weaving’ on the road. We know that cannabis use is on the rise in people over 65 years of age. In fact, over the past few years cannabis use is increasing the most in this age group. Despite this, there are few studies of the effects of cannabis on people over 65; most studies have been conducted on younger adults. We know that there are important age-related changes in the way the body works that may alter the impact of cannabis on the body. Also, older adults may have more experience with cannabis and this can change the effects of cannabis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA / 29.03.2023 Interview with: Kelly Potter, PhD, RN, CNE T32 Postdoctoral Scholar CRISMA Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine University of Pittsburgh What is the background for this study? Response: While it is well-recognized that survivors of critical illness often experience persistent problems with mental, cognitive, and physical health, very little is known about how these problems (collectively known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS)) affect resumption of meaningful activities, such as driving. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis, CMAJ / 06.04.2021 Interview with: Sarah Windle, MPH PhD Student in Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health McGill University (Montréal, Québec, Canada) What is the background for this study? Response: Concerns have been raised about the potential for increases in impaired driving following the legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada in October 2018. Data from Statistics Canada suggest that cannabis use in the previous three months increased among adults (15 and older) from 14% before legalization in 2018 to 17% in 2019. Among those users with a driver’s license, 13% reported driving within two hours of cannabis use. While this proportion remained the same before and after legalization, this indicates that the absolute number of individuals who reported driving within two hours of use has increased following legalization (due to an increase in the number of users). (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 01.08.2019 Interview with: Daejoon Alex Hwang, PhD Instructor in Ophthalmology Investigator, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study?   Response: Yellow night driving glasses are sold with promises to reduce headlight glare from oncoming traffic and help aging individuals see better at night. Despite a 1997 ruling by the Federal Trade Commission against one company’s claims, the products still remain popular online. We tested three commercially available yellow lens night driving glasses and compare their effectiveness with clear lens glasses on our novel headlight glare simulator in the driving simulator. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Neurology / 17.05.2019 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.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 28.10.2018 Interview with: Prof. Mark A. R. Kleiman PhD Affiliated Faculty, NYU Wagner; Professor of Public Policy NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: As state after state legalizes the sale of cannabis, the question of cannabis-impaired driving is getting more attention. There is evidence that the practice has become more common, both because cannabis use - and especially heavy, frequent use - has increased and because a distressingly large fraction of cannabis users believe, falsely, that stoned driving is safe. The natural response to the problem is to treat cannabis on a par with alcohol: fairly severe criminal penalties for impaired driving, with impairment defined by a specific level of the drug in the body. The paper argues that this would be a mistake, for four independent reasons: - While cannabis makes driving riskier, it does so by about a factor of two, with no strongly observed dependency on dosage. Alcohol, by contrast, has a steep dose-effect curve. At the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content by weight, the relative risk of drunk driving is at least eight; at 0.15%, which is fairly common, the relative risk has been estimated at 30-50. So there is no justification for punishing stoned driving as severely as we punish drunk driving. - The lack of evidence of a strong dose-effect relationship suggests that a legal standard based on the content of cannabinoids in blood may not be appropriate. - Even if a blood standard were valid, the lack of a breath test would make enforcing that standard nearly impossible as a practical matter. - The long and unpredictable course of cannabis metabolism means that frequent users will be at risk of failing a drug test even when they are neither subjectively intoxicated nor objectively impaired. Worse, they would have no way of judging in advance whether or not driving would be legal. The result would be a re-criminalization of cannabis use through the back door.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 21.08.2018 Interview with:, Motao Zhu, MD, MS, PhD Principal Investigator Center for Injury Research and Policy The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital? Columbus, OHMotao Zhu, MD, MS, PhD Principal Investigator Center for Injury Research and Policy The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital? Columbus, OH What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know that texting while driving occurs frequently among teen drivers. This study looks at the differences of texting while driving among teens between states. Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. In 2016, over 2,000 teens in the US aged 14-18 years died in motor vehicle crashes and nearly 260,000 were seriously injured in traffic-related incidents. Even though there are cheap car insurance brokers available, teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road. Among distracted driving, texting while driving may be especially risky because it involves at least three types of driver distraction: visual, physical, and cognitive. Texting while driving is banned for all drivers in 47 states and the District of Columbia, yet this study shows it still occurs regularly among teen drivers. Overall (nationally), about 40% of high school student drivers text while driving at least once/month. The rate varies among states. The lowest is 26% (Maryland) and highest is 64% (South Dakota). Texting while driving among high school student drivers is highest in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. These results were not surprising. There are state level factors to explain them. The top 5 highest texting while driving among high school student drivers (Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska) are rural states with a high percent of high school student drivers and students can get their learners permit by age 15. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 07.07.2018 Interview with: “Driving...” by Stig Nygaard is licensed under CC BY 2.0Prof. Stephen R Robinson PhD Discipline Leader, Psychology School of Health and Biomedical Sciences RMIT University Australia What is the background for this study? Response: Around the world, driver drowsiness and fatigue are estimated to contribute to 250,000 deaths on the road per year. Current research in this area has focused on detecting when drivers become drowsy, by examining their eye movements or steering patterns, and then alerting the driver with a warning tone or vibration of the steering wheel. Rather than this reactive approach, we are interested in helping to prevent drivers from becoming drowsy in the first place. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics / 14.06.2018 Interview with: “Driving” by Martin Alvarez Espinar is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristina Elise Patrick, Ph.D Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus, OH 43205 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Many families of young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are concerned that they may have difficulty acquiring driver’s licenses and driving safely because of symptoms of ASD. However, the ability to drive opens the door to a variety of social, occupational, and educational experiences. We aimed to assess differences in simulated driving behaviors of young adults with ASD and those with typical development and to evaluate whether differences depended on level of driving experience and complexity of the driving task. On average, young adults with ASD had more difficulty regulating their speed and position within their lane compared with typically developing individuals even on a very basic rural route. After completing the basic route, drivers were required to engage in more complex tasks such as changing the radio or engaging in conversation while driving, driving through a construction zone, and following behind a truck. On complex driving tasks, drivers with ASD who had acquired licensure drove similarly to typically developing drivers who had acquired licensure. However, novice drivers with ASD had more difficulty than typically developing drivers regulating their speed and position within the lane. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 20.11.2017 Interview with: “texting and driving” by frankieleon is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ole J. Johansson Junior researcher Master’s in social psychology Institute of Transport Economics What is the background for this study? Response: Many countries have bans on driving while distracted and would fine drivers for texting while driving. Furthermore, people mostly know about the dangers of not paying attention to the traffic. Still, many people do engage in distracting behaviors. Thus, in this study, I wanted to examine: a) Who are more likely to engage with distractors? b) Is there an easy way to help people avoid distractions? From these two points, we developed the study to engage with distracted driving from a psychological and scientific point of view. Specifically using the theory of planned behavior and the big five to answer point a) and implementation intentions to answer point b). (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 06.06.2017 Interview with: Mitchell L. Doucette, MS PhD Candidate The William Haddon Jr Fellowship in Injury Prevention 2017 Co-Fellow Center for Injury Research and Policy Department of Health Management and Policy Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205 What is the background for this study? Response: Currently in the U.S., 8 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and an additional 28 states permit marijuana for medical use. Some states have instituted a legal driving limit for marijuana intoxication, 5 ng/mL, and for Colorado specifically, research indicates the average time from law enforcement dispatch to blood sample collection was 2.32 hours—a period of time outside the window of legal sample collection under state law and peak THC detectability. Countries with similar marijuana driving limits perform roadside oral fluid testing for establishing intoxication at point of arrest. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Education, Geriatrics, Nursing / 10.07.2016 Interview with: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The impetus for this article was our experience from working at FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center with families as we conducted assessments of older adults referred to our program by family members or law enforcement. We realized that there is a need to educate nurses that a) they can help to identify persons who may be at risk for unsafe driving before accidents occur, and b) there are resources to help families and nurses navigate this challenging topic. This awareness is especially important for persons and friend/family members who find themselves trying to cope with a known or potential diagnosis of dementia. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, University Texas / 26.03.2015 Interview with: Michelle Wilkinson, MPH Doctoral Candidate Epidemiology The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health Houston, TX 77030 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cell phone use (CPU) while driving impairs visual awareness and reaction time, increasing frequency of near-collisions, collisions, and accidents with injuries. National prevalence estimates of driver cell phone use range from 5-10%. Medical and academic centers have large concentrations of young, ill, or elderly pedestrians and drivers, who are often unfamiliar with the congested environment. Drivers distracted by Cell phone use are a safety threat to pedestrians and drivers in these demanding environments. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and correlates of cell phone use among Texas drivers in major medical and academic centers, 2011-2013. This study found the overall prevalence of cell phone use while driving was 18%. The prevalence of Cell phone useand talking declined, while texting increased during the study period. Cell phone users were more likely to be female, <25 years old, and driving without a passenger. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Social Issues / 01.03.2015

Angela L. Curl PhD MSW School of Social Work University of Missouri Columbia, Interview with: Angela L. Curl PhD MSW School of Social Work University of Missouri Columbia, MO MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Curl: Often people think of stopping driving as just effecting one person: the person who stops driving. In reality, for married couples driving cessation affects both spouses. Using longitudinal data (1998-2010) from 1,457 married couples participating in the Health and Retirement Study, we found that husbands and wives who are no longer able to drive are less likely to work, and less likely to engage in formal volunteering (for charitable organizations) and informal volunteering (helping friends and neighbors not-for-pay). Having a spouse in the household who is still able to drive does reduce these negative consequences a little, but not entirely. Furthermore, the spouse who continues to drive is also less likely to continue working or volunteering following the driving cessation of their partner, presumably because he/she is providing transportation or social support to the non-driver. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Neurology, NIH / 22.03.2014

Hannes Devos, PhD Assistant Professor Assistant Director Georgia Regents University Driving Simulator Lab Department of Physical Therapy College of Allied Health Sciences Georgia Regents University Augusta, GA Interview with: Hannes Devos, PhD Assistant Professor Assistant Director Georgia Regents University Driving Simulator Lab Department of Physical Therapy College of Allied Health Sciences Georgia Regents University Augusta, GA 30912 What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Devos: We compared on-road driving performance between 30 active drivers with Huntington disease and 30 age- and gender- matched control drivers. We found that Huntington disease affects all levels of driving skill due to motor and cognitive deficits and leads to unsafe driving, even in the early stages of the disease. Fourteen (47%) drivers with Huntington disease failed the road test compared with none of the controls. (more…)