Older drivers

It is common for older people to suffer from medical conditions that impair their ability to use roads safely. In addition, elderly drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in crashes as their bodies are more fragile. However, there is evidence to suggest that elderly drivers take fewer risks and have a lower crash rate than younger drivers. Use this page to access research on safety issues concerning elderly drivers.

Towards best practice in Human Machine Interface design for older drivers: a review of current design guidelines
Monash University Accident Research Centre, Victoria, Australia, 30/07/16

To reap the full benefits of in-vehicle technologies for older drivers, it is critical to establish how their capabilities and limitations can be supported by the system design process.

Time-to-contact estimation errors among older drivers with useful field of view impairments
University of Iowa, Iowa, USA, 26/07/16

The tendency for older drivers to crash at traffic intersections is related to the effects of declining eye-sight on a driver’s ability to judge time-to-contact with oncoming vehicles.

Supporting safe driving into old age
Older Drivers Task Force, UK, 19/07/16

The UK Government should encourage fit-for-purpose vision checks for older drivers every two years, particularly from age 60 onward.

Self-rated confidence and on-road performance among older adults
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, Canada, 13/05/16

Confidence in driving ability bears little relationship to the on-road performance of older drivers.

Exploration of older drivers’ speeding behaviour
Sydney Medical School, Australia, 20/02/16

Driving data collected from drivers aged 75–94 shows that those living in rural areas and those driving close to home were more likely to speed.

Independence and mobility key for older drivers
Road Safety GB, 18/02/16

Most older drivers want to continue driving as long as they are safe, for reasons relating to independence and convenience, according to a report commissioned by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, UK.

Older drivers’ risks of at-fault motor vehicle collisions
Japan, 14/05/15

The highest risk groups for causing crashes in Japan are teenagers and older drivers, with older drivers’ risk of causing themselves injury being higher, finds the University of Tsukuba.

Self-Regulation of Driving Behavior in People with Parkinson Disease
Australia, June 2015

Drivers with Parkinson’s disease drive less overall, and develop strategies to avoid circumstances that they find difficult, finds Monash University.

The relationship between age and driving attitudes and behaviors among older Americans
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 21/05/15

Drivers age 75+ in the US are more supportive of road safety interventions, but are also more likely to go through red lights and drive when drowsy.

Driver License Renewal Policies and Fatal Crash Involvement Rates of Older Drivers
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 31/07/14

Requiring elderly drivers to renew their licence in person rather than over the phone or internet reduces subsequent involvement in fatal crashes by 25% in drivers over 85, according to analysis of licence renewal policies across 46 US states.

Seniors are willing to discuss driving abilities
Liberty Mutual Insurance, 24/06/14

84% of US drivers over 70 say they are open to talking about limiting or stopping driving due to health, and most would prefer to discuss this with their children (66%) or doctor (60%).

The effects of age, gender, and crash types on drivers’ injury-related health care costs
Clemson University, USA, 23/07/14

Older drivers involved in crashes have higher healthcare costs than younger drivers.

Driving with dementia
Institue of Advanced Motorists, 03/04/14

Only four in 10 (42%) UK adults with concerns about elderly relatives’ safe driving have tried to discuss this with them.

Drivers over the age of 75 struggle to gauge the speed of oncoming vehicles
University of Greenwich, 14/06/13

Drivers over the age of 75 struggle to gauge the speed of oncoming vehicles, which can halve the time available to perform traffic manoeuvres.

Positive Effects Of Exercise On Mature Drivers
Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and MIT AgeLab, 02/04/13

Doing simple exercises and stretches for 15-20 minutes daily improves older drivers’ flexibility and range of motion when turning to reverse or check blind spots.

Earlier cataract surgery reduces collisions among older adults
University of Alabama, 11/01/13

Encouraging early cataract surgery before significant vision problems develop reduces collisions, fatalities and crash costs among 60-89 year-olds by 21%.

Older driver propensity to crash at junctions ought to be addressed by training
University of Massachusetts, 01/09/12

Older driver propensity to crash at junctions ought to be addressed by training as it may be caused by less frequent scanning for hazards, not age-related deterioration.

Older drivers' attitudes to distracted driving
The Braunschweig University of Technology, 17/11/11

Older drivers are more likely than middle aged drivers to recognise the risks of distracted driving and avoid distracting activities.

Older drivers' insight into their own driving ability
The University of Queensland, 22/06/11

Self-restriction of driving into old age is problematic as older drivers have difficulty judging their own ability.

Driving into the Sunset: Supporting Cognitive Functioning in Older Drivers
Brunel University, 31/03/11

Driver technology to assist the continued mobility of an aging population must address age-related cognitive deterioration.

Vision screening of older drivers for preventing road traffic injuries and fatalities
The Cochrane Collaboration, 16/03/11

Mandatory vision screening for the issue or renewal of a driver’s licence helps to ensure that older drivers are fit to safely operate vehicles.

Spatial Orientation and Navigation in Elderly Drivers
University of Minnesota, 15/12/10

Older people are less able to navigate unfamiliar roads when concentrating on driving due to reduced multi-tasking ability.

Characteristics of vehicles driven by different driver demographics
Monash University Accident Research Centre, 15/12/10

Drivers aged over 60 would benefit from choosing safer vehicles with side-impact protection features.

A national survey of older driver refresher programs
McGill University, 01/09/10

There is an urgent need for evidence-based policy development and a strategic plan to ready our nation for the growing number of older drivers who require refresher programs.

Relation between Hazard Perception and Visual Behaviour
Uppsala University, 16/07/10

Older drivers have significant problems interpreting hazardous situations involving pedestrians and cyclists.

On-road evaluation: its use for the identification of impairment of older drivers
University of Victoria, 01/03/10

On-road assessment is an essential component of a comprehensive older driver evaluation.

Cognitive training decreases motor vehicle collision - involvement of older drivers
University of Alabama, 01/01/10

Cognitive speed-of-processing and reasoning training resulted in a lower at-fault crash rate in older drivers.

Older drivers and failure to stop at red lights
Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, 17/09/09

Failure to stop at red lights in older drivers is associated with reduced ability to pay attention to visual events in the vertical field of vision.

Identifying behaviours and situations associated with crash risk for older drivers
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 01/06/09

There is little evidence of elevated risk for drivers 60 to 69. Most often, the data only begin to demonstrate a substantial upturn in crash experience for drivers 70 to 79.

Risk perception of driving as a function of advanced training
Bar Ilan University, 02/10/07

Higher levels of perceived risk were reported after advanced driver training as compared to before it, by females than by males, and by older adult drivers than by younger adult drivers.

A prospective, population-based study of the role of visual impairment
University College London, 15/02/07

Glare sensitivity, visual field loss, and Useful Field of View (UFOV) were significant predictors of crash involvement. Acuity, contrast sensitivity, and stereoacuity were not associated with crashes.

Older drivers do not have a high crash risk— a replication of low mileage bias
Monash University Accident Research Centre, 19/01/06

When the crash rates of drivers of different ages were compared after being matched for yearly driving distance, most drivers aged 75 years and above were indicatively safer than all other drivers.


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