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Transport safety for older people: A study of their experiences, perceptions and management needs

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With evidence of increasing accident risk due to age-related declines in health and cognition affecting driver performance, there is a need for research promoting safe mobility of older people. The present study aimed to identify transport options and licensing issues for a group of older people in an Australian community. Ninety-five participants aged 75 and over were interviewed about their driving status and accident record and tested for cognitive ability. After stratification on cognitive level and driver status (current, ex-driver or non-driver), 30 were selected for further in-depth interviews concerning demographics, licence status and impact of change, travel options available and used, and travel characteristics. Considerable reliance on the motor vehicle as the mode of transport and the decision to cease driving were major quality-of-life issues. There was little evidence of planning and support in making the decision to stop driving. Some differences in transport decisions on the basis of cognitive level were evident; however, people with severely compromised cognitive ability (and, therefore, unable to give informed consent) had been excluded. The study suggested the need for resources to assist older people/carers/health professionals to plan for the transition from driver to non-driver and to manage alternative transport options more effectively.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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