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Medically unfit pose threat on roadways

Many Maryland residents may not like to think about it, but driving a car is likely one of the more dangerous activities an individual does on a daily basis. Auto accidents happen every day, and in many cases, result in serious injury or even death for those involved. Car accidents are the result of negligent or reckless driving, and sometimes they're caused by a simple unintended error. But a recent report from Canadian doctors focuses on a different cause of car accidents: drivers who are medically unfit to driver.

It's an unfortunate fact, but some drivers are medically unfit to drive. Some medical conditions affect an individual's ability to be fully aware or capable when driving, likely increasing his or her chances of being involved in an accident.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, when doctors make their patients aware that they are unfit to drive, the result is a 45 percent drop in the likelihood that individual will be involved in a car accident over the next year. Still, even with these warnings, the resulting accident ratio for people deemed medically unfit to drive remained far higher than car accidents amongst the general public.

There are other consequences to doctors telling their patients that they are unfit to drive: increased depression in the individual and a decrease in the times that patient will subsequently see that doctor. According to the researchers, doctors should use discretion when providing this information to their patients.

However, when someone gets behind the wheel, knowing that they are unfit to drive, they pose an increased risk to the drivers they share the road with. When an individual decides to drive recklessly or negligently, they could be held liable for any disastrous consequences that result from their decision. This includes being liable to provide financial compensation for pain and suffering, loss of wages, medical bills and more to anyone who is injured as a consequence of their poor judgment in deciding to drive.

Source: WebMD, "Fewer Crashes When Docs Report Unfit Drivers," Daniel J. DeNoon, Sept. 26, 2012

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