Taking the wheel: Patient driving in clinical psychiatry

Brian J. Holoyda, Jackie Landess, Charles L. Scott, William J Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Driving is a complex task involving mental functions including attention, concentration, visual and auditory perception, and gross and fine motor control. Psychiatric illness and the use of psychotropic medications and illicit drugs, not surprisingly, can affect patients’ driving abilities. Clinically, many psychiatrists may not evaluate pa-tients’ driving or discuss the risks of patients’ medication and substance use on their driving. Some experts and the American Psychiatric Association have noted that psychiatrists are not specially equipped to evaluate driving and, therefore, should not be held liable for patients’ negligent driving. Some notable cases indicate that psychiatrists may be held liable for a patient’s negligent driving, even months after discharge from an inpatient setting. This article reviews what is known about various psychiatric conditions and driving, the effect of medications and cannabis on driving, as well as duties that psychiatrists may have in managing patients’ driving-re-lated risk of harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Annals
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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