Older driver safety and mobility : where to from here?

Wong, Ides, Smith, Simon, & Sullivan, Karen (2013) Older driver safety and mobility : where to from here? In 1st Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) International Conference, 2-4 July 2013, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

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The older adult population (65 years and over) represents a rapid growing segment of the population in many developed countries. Unlike earlier cohorts of older drivers that included many who were familiar with public transportation, the present cohort of older drivers historically has a greater reliance on the private automobile as their main form of transportation. Recent studies of older adults’ travel patterns reported automobile to be responsible for over 80% of the total number of hours spent on all trips. While older drivers, as a group, does not demonstrate a particular road risk, the evident demographic change and the increased physical fragility and severity of crash-related injuries makes older driver safety a prevalent public health issue.

This study systematically reviewed the safety and mobility outcomes of existing strategies used internationally to manage older driver safety, with a specific focus on age-based testing (ABT), license restriction and self-regulation (i.e. voluntary limiting driving in potentially hazardous situations). ABT remains the most commonly adopted strategy by licensing authorities both within Australia and internationally.

Heterogeneity in the development of functional declines, and in driving behaviours within the older driver population, makes age an unreliable index of driving capacity. Given the counter-productive safety and mobility outcomes of ABT strategies, their continued popularity within both the legislative and public domains remains problematic. Self-regulation may provide greater potential for reducing older drivers’ crash risk while maintaining their mobility and independence. The current body of literature on older drivers’ self-regulation is systematically reviewed. Despite being promoted by researchers and licensing authorities as a strategy to maintain older driver safety and mobility, the proportion of older drivers who self-regulate, and exactly how they do so, remains unclear. Future research on older drivers’ adoption of self-regulation, particularly the underlying psychological factors that underlies this process, is needed in order to promote its use within the older driver community.

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ID Code: 68444
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 13 Mar 2014 22:33
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2014 22:34

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