On-Road Driver Evaluations

HSRC has explored the potential use of on-road driving evaluations as a tool for helping older adults extend their safe driving years. In a study funded by General Motors, HSRC researchers conducted a national telephone survey of current and former older drivers, a series of focus groups of key stakeholders including driver educators, occupational therapists and physicians and a mail survey of driving schools across the country.

Based on the information gathered from this research, the Center concluded a number of recommendations for expanding the availability of on-road driving evaluations, specifically to help older adults make more responsible decisions about continuing or stopping driving, and more generally to help them drive safely longer. The following recommendations for future research and programmatic activities were made:

  • Encourage occupational therapists and driver educators to work cooperatively to make driving evaluation services more widely available and affordable to older adults
  • Encourage more occupational therapists to obtain formal certification as Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, and develop a similar training and certification program for experienced driver educators
  • Encourage driving schools to offer evaluations and to market their services to the growing population of older adult drivers
  • Educate physicians about potential resources available in their communities for assisting them in counseling their patients about driving
  • Explore linkages between DMVs and driver evaluation programs/driving schools (e.g., DMV involvement in training and certifying driving instructors, DMV referrals for evaluation)
  • Develop comprehensive community-based senior transportation programs that can provide referrals to needed driver evaluation and training services, as well as information on alternatives to driving for meeting transportation needs

View Full Article:

"On-Road Driving Evaluations: A Potential Tool for Helping Older Adults Drive Safely Longer." J.C. Stutts and J. W. Wilkins. Journal of Safety Research. Vol. 34, No. 4: (2003) 431– 439.