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Summary of national driving policies and the older driver

1 May 2005


As the population of elderly drivers increases drastically over the next twenty years attention must be drawn to problems facing that group. In addition, the physiological changes that occur with aging, the increases in the incidence of medical conditions, and the decreases in functional abilities may affect the older driver's performance. As optometrists it is important to understand state driving policies so that we may educate our older patients. Many state licensing agencies are developing policies intended to improve the safety of all drivers, but with emphasis on the older driver. In addition, private interest groups have been developing programs which aim to improve the driving skills of the older driver. In order to effectively address the needs of the older driver, further research is needed to identify which visual and perceptual skills actually decrease in the older population, and of these, which are related to driving performance. With this information, better screening instruments and intervention programs can be devised which will more accurately identify and rehabilitate those drivers who are not safe to be on the road.


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