Consumer perceptions of medication warnings about driving : a comparison of French and Australian labels

Smyth, Tanya L., Sheehan, Mary C., Siskind, Victor, Mercier-Guyon, Charles, & Mallaret, Michel (2013) Consumer perceptions of medication warnings about driving : a comparison of French and Australian labels. Traffic Injury Prevention, 14(6), pp. 557-564.

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Little research has examined user perceptions of medication warnings about driving. Consumer perceptions of the Australian national approach to medication warnings about driving are examined. The Australian approach to warning presentation is compared with an alternative approach used in France. Visual characteristics of the warnings and overall warning readability are investigated. Risk perceptions and behavioral intentions associated with the warnings are also examined.


Surveys were conducted with 358 public hospital outpatients in Queensland, Australia. Extending this investigation is a supplementary comparison study of French hospital outpatients (n = 75).


The results suggest that the Australian warning approach of using a combination of visual characteristics is important for consumers but that the use of a pictogram could enhance effects. Significantly higher levels of risk perception were found among the sample for the French highest severity label compared to the analogous mandatory Australian warning, with a similar trend evident in the French study results. The results also indicated that the French label was associated with more cautious behavioral intentions.


The results are potentially important for the Australian approach to medication warnings about driving impairment. The research contributes practical findings that can be used to enhance the effectiveness of warnings and develop countermeasures in this area. Hospital pharmacy patients should include persons with the highest level of likelihood of knowledge and awareness of medication warning labeling. Even in this context it appears that a review of the Australian warning system would be useful particularly in the context of increasing evidence relating to associated driving risks. Reviewing text size and readability of messages including the addition of pictograms, as well as clarifying the importance of potential risk in a general community context, is recommended for consideration and further research.

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3 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 67132
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: medication, warnings, traffic safety, driving, Australia, France, risk perceptions, intentions
DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2012.729278
ISSN: 1538-9588
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2014 04:37
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2014 21:19

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