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Sudden Illness as a Cause of Motor-vehicle Accidents
  1. B. Herner,
  2. B. Smedby,
  3. L. Ysander
  1. Department of Medicine, Varberg County Hospital, Varberg
  2. The Department of Social Medicine, University of Uppsala, Sweden


    Forty-one of the 44,255 road accidents reported to the police in one region of Sweden during 1959-63 were, or probably were, caused by sudden illness in the driver of a motor-vehicle. All 41 were males. The illness was most often due to epilepsy or myocardial infarction. Eight drivers died at the wheel from their disease. No other persons were killed in the 41 accidents. Only in 19 out of the 41 cases was there any possibility of a previous medical examination having indicated that the man was unfit to drive. In view of this, and the extremely small proportion—about 1 in 1,000—of accidents caused by sudden illness at the wheel, there is little point in providing for general measures such as periodic medical examination to prevent these accidents. Attention should be directed to other types of accidents and other groups of drivers.

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