Antidepressants Can Negatively Affect Driving Skills

Armen Hareyan's picture
Driving and antidepressants

People taking anti-depressants for managing depression have significantly lowered driving skills.

A team of researchers from the North Dakota University examined 60 people and gave them common driving tests to see how they can react to common driving events such as brake lights, stop signs and traffic signals. The tests were aimed at checking steering, concentration and scanning.

Participants were divided into two groups with 31 people taking at least one common depression treatment drug and with 29 people taking absolutely no drugs, with the exclusion of some of them taking oral contraceptives. Those taking drugs were also divided into two groups - patients taking high and low doses of antidepressants.


Researchers concluded, that those drivers who were not taking antidepressant drugs scored 69 points. Those drivers who were taking low doses of antidepressants scored 65 points, and those on high doses of depression treatment drugs scored 54 points.

This shows a clear evidence that depression drugs weaken driving skills.

Researchers urge more and larger scale studies to understand if it is the drugs or the health condition itself affecting concentration. Both are suspected to weaken driving skills, but it is important to better understand the situation and make sure that drivers are healthy and do not cause harm for themselves and for others.

However, there may be a lot of cases when drivers will not qualify as 'not able to drive', but they may feel discomfort and experience lack of concentration. This is why Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency recommends - everyone who feels that his driving skills are somehow weakened because of a medical condition, must contact DVLA.