OLDER DRIVERS’ DECISIONS ABOUT GIVING UP DRIVING AND ACCEPTABILITY OF ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION: QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
There has been considerable epidemiologic research evaluating the risk factors for crash involvement for older drivers and longitudinal studies which have examined driving cessation. However, there is a shortage of stakeholder perspective data from older drivers themselves. Our aim was to gather perspectives on aged-based licensing, fitness to drive, barriers and facilitating factors during the transition to not driving. In November 2009 a series of 3 focus groups were conducted with drivers, who were members of a community-based seniors club in north-west Sydney. There was consensus that driving was essential to their independence, citing lack of transport alternatives with no taxi service, sporadic private bus transport as well as strong personal preference for being able to continue driving. As reported elsewhere, few had planned for not driving though loss of driving privileges was perceived as incompatible with continued living in this area. All participants felt there were some safety issues for older drivers but that these issues were limited to only a few drivers, not well represented in the media and overestimated by the driving public. This consultation highlighted the importance of independent mobility and the need for objective data to inform policy in this area. Considerations of preferences, acceptability, accessibility and cost to older drivers are critical when adapting research evidence into strategies for safe mobility. The findings of this research can inform development of programs designed to promote safe mobility in older people.