Sudden natural death behind the wheel: Review of driver deaths and fitness to drive assessment history in Victoria, Australia 2012–2013

Lisa Ruth Brodie, Morris Odell, David Ranson, Carmel Young, Fiona Kitching, Joseph E. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study reviews the circumstances and medical causes of death of motor vehicle drivers who died in circumstances of sudden illness whilst behind the wheel in Victoria, Australia 2012-13. The driver's fitness to drive assessment history was also examined to identify prevention opportunities. Deaths included in the study were those referred to a panel responsible for determining whether the driver fatality should be included in the official road toll, where prior doubt exists. A research team comprising of forensic physicians examined the case file of each death involving sudden illness. Forty-five driver deaths during the two-year period were reviewed. Ischaemic heart disease was the most common cause of death. Over 80% of drivers were male with a median age of 64 years. While limited medical history was available, significantly impacting study analysis, findings identified minimal opportunity to improve the fitness to drive review process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-33
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Driver
  • Fitness to drive
  • Mortality
  • Older people

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