Skip to content

One in five traffic accidents caused by medical reasons

The general health of drivers is rising as a major focus point of traffic safety work for police.

About 20 per cent of car crashes are caused by drivers' medical conditions. Image: Marjut Suomi / Yle

About 20 per cent of traffic accidents are caused by the driver's medical - physical or psychological - conditions.

According to Kari Rantala, the Director of the National Traffic Police, driver health monitoring needs to be intensified.

”If a person has a condition or illness that affects his or her ability on the road, education needs to be given to the police and doctors as well,” says Rantala.

Driving ability can be affected by impaired vision, physical limitations, certain medications and illnesses such as dementia. Drivers, doctors and police need to be more aware of the potential problems that these and other health issues can cause.

Anna-Liisa Tarvainen, the managing director of the Finnish traffic safety authority Liikenneturva, says: ”the condition of the road and the motor vehicle are significant, but the driver is the final, crucial link.”

While progress in reducing the number of traffic accidents has been made, 250 people died on the roads in Finland last year. Though reducing speeding, wearing seat belts and preventing drink driving all remain important tracking points, the police would like to draw more attention to the topic of driver health.