Thousands of Swedes ‘too ill to drive’

Tens of thousands of Swedes are too ill to drive and should have their driving licences confiscated, the authority responsible for issuing licences has said.

The chief physician at Swedish National Roads Administration (Vägverket), Lars Englund, slammed Sweden’s doctors for not being diligent enough in reporting people whose illness makes them unsuitable to drive. Under Swedish law, doctors are supposed to report unsuitable drivers to their local county administrative board.

“There are a number of illnesses which make people unsuitable drivers,” said Englund.

“Around 25,000 people in Sweden are diagnosed with dementia every year, and 30,000 people suffer strokes. In addition a very large number of people suffer sight deterioration, not to mention all the alcoholics,” said Englund.

Some 2,044 people were reported to the authorities last year by doctors who judged them unsuitable to drive. This corresponds to 35 people per 100,000 licence holders.

There are large regional differences in the number of people reported by doctors, with 80 per 100,000 in Dalarna to none in Uppsala and Blekinge counties. The National Roads Administration says the number of reports should be up to ten times higher than at present.