The effect of age on driving skills.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of age on driving skills independent of the limitations related to disease or dementia. DESIGN: Prospective comparison of driving skills across three age groups. SETTING: A university-based research study of student and university-affiliated volunteers. PARTICIPANTS: Healthy elderly (age 65+), teen-age (age 18-19), and young adult drivers (age 25-35). Twenty subjects in each age group were recruited after meeting entry criteria for the study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Total error count and score on the Miller Road Test, a standardized road test developed by the Division of Bus and Traffic Safety in North Carolina. RESULTS: The elderly were found to have fewer errors than either of the two younger groups of drivers (P = 0.0013). Specific driving skills were judged to be either superior or unchanged in the elderly subjects in comparison to their younger counterparts. CONCLUSIONS: Road test skills appear to be well preserved in the healthy elderly population. More road test studies are needed on elderly individuals with mental and physical impairments to determine if road tests can play a role in identifying the driver at high risk for a crash.
Carr, D; Jackson, TW; Madden, DJ; Cohen, HJ
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