Improving the Safety and the Mobility of Older Drivers: A Conceptual Framework
Mobility is important to the quality of life of older people and the automobile plays a central role in preserving that mobility. In fact, driving has become such an integral part of our lives that many of our decisions (e.g., where to live, social activities) presume we will continue to have access to the private vehicle. Research reveals that the majority of older drivers continue to drive, many into their eighth and ninth decades of life (Jette & Branch, 1992). Research also reveals that many older drivers compensate for age-related declines in abilities by reducing their annual mileage as well as regulating when and where they drive. For example, studies indicate that many older drivers minimize or eliminate night time driving (Eisenhandler, 1990; Forrest et al., 1997; Holland & Rabbitt, 1992; Kosnik et al., 1990; Mortimer, 1988; Schlag, 1993), restrict or avoid week-end driving (Stutts et al., 1989), avoid driving during rush hours (Ball & Owsley, 1991), and during adverse weather conditions (Eisenhandler, 1990; Forrest et al., 1997; Kosnik et al., 1990; Moritmer, 1988, Schlag, 1993).