"one of my fears is that physically or mentally, the time will come where I'll be unable to drive anymore. and I'm not looking forward to that": A mixed methods feasibility study to assess older driver's risk impairment

Vanya C. Jones, Andrea C. Gielen, Maryanne M. Bailey, George W. Rebok, Jean M. Gaines, John Joyce, John M. Parrish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sixty-seven older adults were assessed using multiple validated tools. The current study aimed to identify high-, medium-, and low-risk impairment among older drivers and to explore high-risk drivers' reactions to being told their results. Of 67 adults screened from a convenience sample of older drivers, nine high-risk participants, four completed in-depth follow-up qualitative interviews. The quantitative assessment algorithm identified 13% as high risk, 30% as medium risk, and 57% as low risk, and only Trails B distinguished the medium- and high-risk impairment groups. Although the assessment tests did not predict future crash involvement over a 7-month period, four participants in the medium- and high-risk impairment categories had been involved in a crash during the 5 years prior to the study compared with none of those who screened low risk. Only three participants (1 high risk) voluntarily surrendered their driver's licenses after the assessment, and one participant in the in-depth interviews reported that the assessment influenced the decision to stop driving. There may be some benefit in using driving record history and assessment results to determine driving risk impairment level. However, more research is needed to determine the best combination of tools to predict risk level. How to best communicate risk levels remains to be determined, although results from the older drivers in this study underscore the need for great sensitivity when identifying areas of concern about driving ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-483
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • driving assessment
  • driving behavior
  • mixed methods
  • older driver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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