Driving competence in older persons

W. H. Brouwer, R. W. H. M. Ponds

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Older drivers form a growing segment of the driving population which in comparison to most other modes of transportation, is relatively user-friendly for older people. There are two important problems. The first is the increase of physical vulnerability with age which means that the same accident often leads to much more severe injury in an older than a younger adult driver. The second problem is the decline of sensory, perceptual-motor and cognitive abilities (impairments) because of ageing-related degenerative processes and diseases. As a result, processing of and responding to traffic information is slowed and activities cannot well be performed simultaneously. Much of this may be compensated by behavioural changes. However, studies of accident characteristics and driving skill in relation to ageing suggest that compensation breaks down in complex and ambiguous traffic situations and in individuals with strongly impaired perceptual and cognitive function. Possible changes to reduce ageing-related accidents, and which make driving more user-friendly for older drivers, are discussed. © 1994 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-161
JournalDisability and rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

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