Driving Performance in Older Adults: Current Measures, Findings, and Implications for Roadway Safety

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Over 10,000 people a day turn 65 in the United States. For many older adults, driving represents an essential component of independence and is one of the most important factors in overall mobility. Recent survey studies in older adults suggest that up to 60% of older adult drivers with mild cognitive impairment, and up to 30% with dementia, continue to drive. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive and detailed resource on the topics of cognition and driving for clinicians, researchers, and policymakers working on efforts related to older adult drivers. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Publications on PubMed and Medline and discussions with experts working in geriatrics, technology, driving policy, psychology, and diverse aspects of driving performance were utilized to inform the current review. RESULTS: Research indicates that there is a complex and inverse correlation between multiple cognitive measures, driving performance, and risky driving behaviors. The fragmented nature of available peer-reviewed literature, and a reliance on correlative data, do not currently allow for the identification of the temporal and reciprocal nature of the interplay between cognition and driving endpoints. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: There are currently no widely accepted definitions, conceptual models, or uniform set of analyses for conducting geriatric research that is focused on driving. Establishing conventions for conducting research that harmonizes the fields of geriatrics, cognition, and driving research is critical for the development of the evidence base that will inform clinical practice and road safety policy.

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Innovation in aging

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