PhD ceremony: Ms. S. Ravera, 12.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Psychotropic medications and traffic safety. Contributions to risk assessment and risk communication
Promotor(s): prof. J.J. de Gier, prof. L.T.W. de Jong-van den Berg
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Road trafﬁc accidents constitute a major public health challenge and cause, every year, a large number of losses of life and injuries worldwide. In 2003, in its White Paper on transport policy, the European Commission fixed the target date of 2010 to halve the number of road deaths, and, in 2006, launched the European project Driving under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines (DRUID) with the purpose of obtaining scientific support to its transport policy to reach the 2010th road safety target.
The dissertation of Silvia Ravera is part of the DRUID project and aimed to assess the impact of psychoactive medications on traffic safety. The following research questions were developed and answered by her: 1) The dimension of the use of driving impairing medications in the general population; 2) The risks of experiencing a traffic accident while exposed to psychoactive medicines; 3) The development of criteria and methodology for establishing a European classification system for relevant therapeutic medication groups and driving. Briefly, Raveras results showed that the use of psychotropic medications remained quite constant over the last years, with the exception of antidepressants and, in particular, SSRIs (increased use over time). This latter group was associated with the highest risk of experiencing a traffic accident, even though experimental and epidemiological research did not always consistently report this relationship. Lastly, her work also established and defined standardized and harmonized criteria to categorise commonly prescribed medications, based on their influence on fitness to drive, in order to improve traffic safety and prevent motor-vehicle crashes.
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