Safety of Older Drivers: Strategy for future research and action initiatives

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #118 - 1997

Author: B. Fildes

Full report in .pdf format [1MB]


The number of older driver crashes is not currently a major road safety problem in Australia, although these road users are over-represented in severe injury outcome rates. Moreover, with population and mobility changes expected over the next 30 or 40 years, the older driver problem is likely to increase substantially without intervention. A review was undertaken of existing literature reviews, other published and unpublished literature and other sources to identify what are the key older driver issues, what is currently known and unknown about older driver safety, and areas requiring further research and safety management. This was done to help government agencies and other organisations adopt a strategic approach to older road user safety in the years ahead. The review identified a number of key health, licensing and mobility issues relevant to older drivers and a number of research and management topics requiring further consideration. An expert group was formed comprising local and overseas specialists from government agencies, community groups and research organisations to help prioritise future efforts. Research issues of high priority included monitoring of crashes involving older drivers; the ability of older people to self-regulate their driving behaviour, the development of adequate screening tests for older drivers; the role of highway design for older drivers; older drivers as a cause of crashes; and the collection of comprehensive exposure data on older drivers' road usage. Management priorities included improved guidelines for licence referral; establishment of a pilot re-licensing program similar to that proposed by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration in the USA; a handbook that provides advice and recommendations on retiring from driving; provision of a manual on highway design for older drivers; an older driver handbook; and improvement in labelling medicine for older people that adversely affects driving ability. Collaboration with overseas efforts was also recommended to maximise the benefits from future research and management initiatives.

Sponsoring Organisation: Baseline Research Program - Department of Justice, Transport Accident Commission, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd, VicRoads