SELF-REGULATORY BEHAVIOUR OF OLDER DRIVERS
The task of driving is complex and places high demands on cognitive, attention, decision-making, perceptual and motor processes. Age-related changes in these capacities present a compounding factor and place older drivers at a significant risk. It is frequently claimed that drivers self-regulate their driving behaviour as they age to minimise their risk of having a crash. Examples of such behavioural changes include using low-traffic roads, planning trips to avoid busy locations, and not driving at night. While there is evidence that older drivers do travel shorter distances on average than their younger counterparts (LTSA, 2000), the evidence of older drivers adopting more safe driving practices is less definitive. There is a suggestion, too, that the practice of self-regulation may not be consistent among all older drivers (eg. those with dementia). An important factor in determining self-regulatory driving behaviour is insight into one?s own functional abilities, as well as an appreciation of the specific environment and situational context related to driving. This paper reviews existing research addressing issues of self-regulation. In addition, a preliminary investigation of self-regulatory behaviours in a small sample of Australasian drivers is reported. Older drivers participating in the study completed self-reports about their driving and underwent a series of functional assessments and an on-road driving test. Results describe the relationships among functional abilities, self-regulatory driving behaviours and on-road driving performance. Implications for safety and mobility are discussed.