Research Papers

Development of a new and innovative training program for older drivers

Filename FINAL-PAPER-29.doc
Filesize 153 KB
Version 1
Date added June 10, 2012
Downloaded 5 times/fois
Category 2012 CMRSC XXII Banff
Tags Session 4B
Author/Auteur Jennifer Oxley, Jim Langford, Sjaan Koppel, Judith Charlton

Abstract

Older road user safe mobility continues to be a significant road safety and public health issue. The 'older road user problem' can be addressed using the Safe System approach which encompasses management of safer roads, safer vehicles and safer road users. Many behavioural interventions have been introduced to address safer older road users, with the assumption that they have a protective effect on crash risk, while maintaining a level of mobility. It is also claimed that, if older people are able to adopt safer driving practices, there will be less need for them to have to submit to periodic testing. Many programs, however, lack scientific evaluations, or are not based on scientific evidence.

A new education and training package for older drivers, the 'Seniors Driving Longer, Smarter, Safer' has recently been developed in Australia. This is an innovative program aimed to improve the adoption of safe driving practices amongst older drivers in Australia and it is envisaged that this package will supplement and support current initiatives addressing the safe mobility of seniors. This paper describes the development of the program, including a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence regarding educational and training programs, and the results of a pilot evaluation of the program in terms of awareness and knowledge and acceptability. The evaluation indicated positive outcomes of the program, including high ratings of usefulness, content, format and delivery style. Moreover, a comparison of questionnaire responses before and after program participation showed improvements in knowledge of road safety issues, awareness of functional changes and impact on driving ability, and attitudes towards adoption of safer driving practices.

Education and training to improve the driving practices of older drivers is central to current international thinking about this group's safe mobility and there is increasing international recognition of the benefits of these programs. The current program offers a targeted and potentially powerful strategy to reduce crash and injury risk and maintain safe mobility of seniors.

Jennifer Oxley, Jim Langford, Sjaan Koppel, Judith Charlton