Driving Reduction and Cessation: Transition to Not Driving

This proposal is to examine driving cessation and reduction among older drivers. In the U.S., where land use patterns are dispersed, and access to public transportation is often limited, relinquishment of driving privileges is a very difficult transition for older adults. It limits their independence, isolates them from friends and family, and can also have a serious emotional impact, resulting in fear, depression, and loneliness. Nevertheless, due to their declining ability to drive safely, it is important that older drivers recognize when they need to reduce or discontinue driving, and necessary that programs and policies be in place to assist them in maintaining their independence, social connections, and emotional health as they relinquish driving. This study will conduct a secondary analysis, guided by the Stress and Coping Model (SCM) and the Precaution Adoption Process Model (PAPM), of data collected nine years ago from a representative sample of Michigan licensed drivers age 65 and older. The data contain information on various aspects of driving behavior, driving reduction patterns, attitudes about driving reduction/cessation, current health, and key theoretical dimensions of PAPM and SCM, and will be combined with Michigan driver history data and crash records. The driver history data will allow driving cessation to be assessed, as well as various other aspects of driving (i.e., crash and offense rate, actions taken on licenses) that have occurred since the interview. the result of the data analysis will be used to develop a conceptual model of driving reduction/cessation among older drivers. That model will be used to develop recommendations for programmatic and policy interventions to assist older drivers reduce or discontinue driving while maintaining their independence and their social and emotional health. The model will also serve as a basis for further research on this important public health problem.