Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study shows elderly drivers support competency tests

27.05.2011
Researchers propose 'advance directives' for driving

Researchers studying driving habits and accident rates among the elderly found a majority surveyed supported mandatory retesting of drivers based on age while saying they would hand over the keys if a doctor or loved one said they were no longer fit to drive.

"We are now exploring the idea of an advance directive for driving where someone would be designated to take away your keys at some point," said Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who led the study and presented it in May before the American Society of Geriatrics. "It is a very difficult subject. Children don't want to bring it up, older drivers are afraid to lose their licenses and doctors may not feel it is not their job."

The study surveyed 122 elderly people and found 71 percent supported mandatory, age-based driver retesting. It also showed that 68 percent believed family and 53 percent believed doctors should decide whether a license should be revoked. Only 28 percent said the Department of Motor Vehicles and 26 percent said the police should make that decision.

Some 89 percent said they might quit driving if their doctor advised it compared to 75 percent who would agree if it was their family's idea. Twelve percent reported a crash in the last year and 87 percent of current drivers said they had at least one medical diagnosis possibly linked to increased crash risk. The elderly drivers also reported taking a median of seven medications each.

Betz, an associate professor of emergency medicine, said the problem is growing as more and more baby boomers retire. Still, she said, despite sensational stories of the elderly crashing into crowds or running people down, drivers over age 75 are responsible for only four percent of pedestrian fatalities. But older drivers do have high motor vehicle accidents per miles driven with less ability to recover from injuries due to their often frail condition.

"We are trying to develop a screening test to identify higher risk drivers," she said. "The tool is a simple questionnaire with questions like, `Do you get confused by driving? Do people recommend you stop driving?'"

If someone is deemed unsafe to drive, Betz said, the question is who should notify the Department of Motor Vehicles - doctors, family or both?

"This is where the advance driving directive could come in," Betz said. "We would have something in writing that says when the time comes who do you trust to make the decision that you can no longer safely drive?"

Each state has its own method of determining whether elderly drivers are competent, most include a vision test. Betz, who recently received a Merck/American Geriatrics Society Young Investigator award, said there is more to it than that.

"It is not all about vision. There are complications from diabetes that may affect driving, cognitive problems – does a person forget how to make a left turn? – and dementia which may develop in some at age 60 and others at 90," she said. "The drugs they may be taking could also have side-effects that impact driving ability. Ultimately, this is a public health issue that needs to be addressed in a coherent way involving family, doctors and state authorities."

Betz's study was funded by the University of Colorado Hartford/Jahnigen Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine, the Emergency Medicine Foundation and the Colorado Injury Control Research Center.

Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children's Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the UC Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the University of Colorado Denver newsroom.

David Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdenver.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>