Madelyn Malvitz, Darin B Zahuranec, Wen Chang, Steven G Heeringa, Emily M Briceño, Roshanak Mehdipanah, Xavier F Gonzales 5, Deborah A Levine, Kenneth M Langa, Nelda Garcia, Lewis B Morgenstern


Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias may lose the ability to drive safely as their disease progresses. Little is known about driving prevalence in older Latinx and non-Hispanic White (NHW) individuals. We investigated the prevalence of driving status among individuals with cognitive impairment in a population-based cohort.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis of the cohort BASIC-Cognitive study in a community of Mexican American (MA) and NHW individuals in South Texas. Participants scored ≤25 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), indicating a likelihood of cognitive impairment. Current driving status was assessed by the Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol informant interview. Logistic regression was used to assess driving versus non-driving adjusted for pre-specified covariates. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare NHW and MA differences in driving outcomes from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) questions for evaluating driving risk in dementia.


There were 635 participants, 77.0 mean age, 62.4% women, and 17.3 mean MoCA. Of these, 360 (61.4%) were current drivers with 250 of 411 (60.8%) MA participants driving, and 121 of 190 (63.70%) NHW participants driving (p = 0.50). In fully adjusted models age, sex, cognitive impairment, language preference, and Activities of Daily Living scores were significant predictors for the likelihood of driving (p < 0.0001). Severity of cognitive impairment was inversely associated with odds of driving, but this relationship was not found in those preferring Spanish language for interviews. Around one-third of all caregivers had concerns about their care-recipient driving. There were no significant differences in MA and NHW driving habits and outcomes from the AAN questionnaire.


The majority of participants with cognitive impairment were currently driving. This is a cause for concern for many caregivers. There were no significant ethnic driving differences. Associations with current driving in cognitively impaired persons require further research.

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