05:45am Tuesday 25 February 2020

Older drivers under testing conditions

Older drivers are often seen as being one or the other. But do current tests for older drivers accurately assess their ability to drive safely?

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing are calling for Canberra drivers aged 75 and older to help answer this important question.

“We know that older drivers speed less, and are less likely to drink and drive, and yet after the driver hits 75 years of age, there is an increase in car accidents that result in serious injuries,” says Professor Kaarin Anstey, the leader of the study.

“At the moment, older drivers are required to have regular medical reviews in order to retain their license. However, current testing methods are not evidence-based, so while we know that certain health and medical factors do impact driver safety, it may be more useful to look at the bigger picture when it comes to older drivers.”

The Driving, Ageing, Safety and Health (DASH) study will compare the methods typically used to assess driving performance, such as tests for vision, balance and understanding of road rules as well as driving performance in an on-road test, to see which methods are actually related to real driving performance.

“Through this study, we aim to work out the most valid testing methods for older drivers, so we can make fairer and more accurate decisions regarding driving safety.

“We need 100 older drivers from the ACT or surrounding area to participate in the study. This involves undertaking a lab-based assessment on campus, followed by a driving assessment with a qualified driving instructor. Involvement in the study will not affect the participant’s current driving licence in any way.”

Participants will also be asked to keep a record of their driving experiences and take part in phone interviews.

This project is being run in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology and funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council grant.

To register for the study:

Ally Gunn


T 02) 6125 1457

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