Older drivers: Exploring the relationships between medical conditions, medication use, and driving

Australia’s population is ageing and, while there is a strong global emphasis for older adults to maintain their vehicular mobility for as long as possible, they represent one of the highest risk groups for crash-related deaths and serious injuries. To achieve an appropriate balance between older driver safety and mobility, it is important to understand how age-related declines, medical conditions and medication use affect driving abilities, and whether they place older drivers at an increased risk of crash-related injuries and/or death.

The Candrive/Ozcandrive study is a longitudinal, multi-center international research program with the core objective of identifying opportunities to promote older drivers’ safe mobility. The study involves 928 drivers aged 70 years and over in Canada and 302 drivers aged 75 years and older in Australia and New Zealand (Australia: n = 257; New Zealand: n = 45). Using a longitudinal study design, the project has tracked this cohort of older drivers for up to eight years, assessing changes in their functional performance, self-reported medical conditions and medication use, self-reported driving practices (e.g., comfort, avoidance), as well as crashes and citations (both official and self-reported). Older drivers’ real-world (or naturalistic) driving practices (e.g., trip distance, duration, type of road and speed) have also been collected for up to eight years through an in-car recording device (ICRD) that was installed in their vehicles at the start of the study.

There is an opportunity for two separate and complimentary PhD research programs:

  1. Explore the relationship between medical conditions, medication use, real-world driving performance and crashes
  2. Explore the relationship between medical conditions, medication use and self-reported driving practices

These PhD research programs would be supervised by Professor Judith CharltonAssociate Professor Sjaan Koppel and Associate Professor Janneke Berecki-Gisolf.

Learn more about our Behavioural Safety Science team