ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Some factors that may increase crash risk of older female drivers

Oxley, Jennifer

Older Drivers/Users

2006

Older drivers are over-involved in serious injury and fatal crashes per licensed driver compared to younger drivers. This may be due to age-related changes in functional performance and health status as well as changes in driving factors. Moreover, there may be some gender-specific factors that may place older female drivers at increased risk of crash involvement. Indeed, crash statistics show that their fatality rate is increasing more rapidly than that of older men and is likely to increase markedly in the years ahead as the population ages. Using data from i) a self-administered survey of 673 older female drivers, and ii) a case-control study of 48 crash-involved and 44 non crash-involved older female drivers, some factors that may predict crash involvement were identified. Poor attentional, cognitive, executive and motor skills as well as the presence of multiple medical conditions were associated with crash involvement, suggesting that women with more pronounced functional changes were at highest crash risk. Low confidence, difficulty in some driving situations and principal driver status were also related to increased risk of crash involvement. These findings suggest that older female drivers who become principal drivers, perhaps due to illness or death of a partner, may lack the up-to-date driving experience and associated confidence to drive safely. The findings have enhanced our understanding of which female drivers are at increased risk, particularly through identifying a more precisely defined target group for road safety countermeasures.