Safe driving and chronic pain

5 Sep 2019

Congratulations to Dr Atiyeh Vaezipour and colleagues for being awarded a highly competitive research grant from the RACV Safety Research Fund.

Dr Vaezipour will work alongside RECOVER colleagues Dr Nicole Andrews and Associate Professor Venerina Johnston as well as collaborators Professor Mark Horswill (UQ School of Psychology), Dr Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios (CARRS-Q, QUT) and international collaborator Professor Patricia Delhomme (IFSTTAR).  

The grant funds will support a project designed to investigate the driving challenges of people with chronic pain. Dr Vaezipour describes the describes the projects aims:

“The overarching objective of this project is to ensure safe driving among people with chronic pain. Specifically, this research aims to enhance our understanding of the needs and challenges of people with chronic pain that may impact their driving behaviour. By understanding current driving behaviours and challenges for people with chronic pain, this research will contribute to improving the management of driver safety as well as potential benefits in terms of public education in chronic pain populations. This will ensure the safety of drivers with chronic pain as well as other drivers on the road.”

Dr Atiyeh Vaezipour

Until now there have been very few studies which have investigated the impact of chronic pain on driving. This original research will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the effect of chronic pain on driving behaviour, as well as driver needs regarding their everyday driving challenges, to ensure the safety of all road users. Dr Vaezipour expands:

“Being able to drive is important and driving cessation is associated with less independence, reduced community participation, fewer job opportunities, and lower quality of life. This research has the potential to positively improve safe driving behaviour, mobility independence, and quality of life, as well as reducing the social isolation from driving cessation for people with chronic pain.”

The RACV Safety Research Fund aims to improve road safety across modes of transport and in and around the home.

“RACV is pleased to support this important research work by the University of Queensland into the relationship between chronic pain and driver behaviour.

“Chronic pain affects one in five Australians, and RACV believes more research is required into the effects of chronic pain on drivers and its impact on driver behaviour. We hope this work improves the lives of people with chronic pain and gives them greater freedom to drive safely. Anything that can ensure the safety of drivers and reduce collisions and our road toll is to be encouraged.”  Melinda Spiteri, Manager Safety and Education RACV.