AAAFTS Senior Driver Cohort Study
Funding: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2014-2019 (Contract No. AAAFTS 4035-51123)
The aging of the US population, particularly the ?baby boomers,? will bring about new challenges to maintaining safe mobility for older adults that are well recognized in the transportation community. As research continues to better understand and respond to these challenges, two complementary and interdependent goals have emerged: to help older drivers continue to drive as long as they can safely do so and to support comfortable and convenient community options for those who are no longer able or choose not to drive.
Much of the research to date has focused on crash risk and outcomes rather than mobility issues associated with the transition from driving to non-driving. In addition, most studies have relied on retrospective or secondary data analyses which can provide only limited insights into the complex relationships among factors that influence crashes and loss of mobility, including driving patterns, medical conditions, medications, and family dynamics. Many research questions related to safe mobility, including those specifically related to the transition from driving to non-driving and the effects of medications on driving, can best, and in some cases only, be answered through a large-scale, prospective, longitudinal cohort study.
The goal of this multi-site study is to understand the natural history, determinants, and mechanisms of driving behavior, safety, and related outcomes among older drivers. Ultimately, the project?s goal is to enhance safe mobility among older adults by developing and conducting a prospective cohort study of drivers age 65 and older, and to generate an extensive data and knowledge base that will fuel future research and decision-making regarding older driver safety and mobility. The project is intended to improve understanding of the safety needs of older drivers, support the development of countermeasures that keep people driving safely for as long as they can do so, and to stimulate improvements in mobility options for those who no longer drive.