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Driving Choices for the Older Motorist

26 February 2013

Each year hundreds of thousands of drivers could be making the wrong decision about their ability to drive because they lack the tools or advice to adequately assess their skills behind the wheel. At the age of 70 – and every three years thereafter – drivers must declare whether or not they are fit to drive. This self-declaration is not made on the basis of any formal medical or driving test, but relies on the judgement  of the individual.

Now a new report published by the RAC Foundation investigates whether self-assessment tools can help older drivers make the right choices about their driving. It tells us something about how our abilities change with age and how this impacts on driving skills, how you can go about testing for these, and whether self-assessment tools can help drivers self-regulate.

Most importantly this report tells us what self-assessment tools can do, what they cannot do and what they should include if they are to be helpful. The right self-assessment tools can provide useful feedback on driving strengths, weaknesses and future mobility options. They can help facilitate discussion between older drivers and family members. They cannot, however, replace the professional assessment of driving skills and they should not be promoted for this purpose unless significant effort and resource is available for their validation.

The report has been prepared by a team from TRL which includes Britta Lang whose PhD work on older drivers’ risk perception  won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2009, together with Andrew Parkes and Kristen Fernández Medin.

 A copy can be dowloaded here.

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