Older Drivers’ Self-Regulation and Exposure

Conventional wisdom holds that older drivers reduce their crash risk by self-regulating, that is, limiting their driving to situations they believe they can navigate safely. However, crash data show that older drivers are more likely than middle-aged drivers to contribute to crashes, particularly at intersections, turning left across traffic, and when driving at highway speeds. This project builds upon previous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research where focus groups of older drivers described concerns about their driving abilities and the extent to which they avoided driving under conditions that made them uncomfortable. Most focus group participants in their 60s were confident in their driving abilities and only avoided some nighttime driving. Participants in their 70s articulated driving difficulty, particularly in managing complex driving situations. Those in their 80s reported being good, safe drivers and noted that other drivers, particularly young ones, were dangerous. Drivers across these age groups insisted that they would know when they could no longer drive safely and would surrender their licenses at that point. However, more recent studies have reported that the older drivers with the weakest driving skills were least likely to recognize and accommodate to their limitations. These studies suggest that some older adults have poor insight into their functional limitations, which would undermine their ability to regulate their driving exposure appropriately. Knowing the degree to which older drivers self-regulate, and if so, under which conditions they self-regulate appropriately could help clinicians who work with older adults to guide their clients in matching their driving exposure to their abilities. Such information would also guide development of educational materials for older drivers.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $607128
    • Contract Numbers:




    • Sponsor Organizations:

      National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
    • Project Managers:

      Sifrit, Kathy

    • Performing Organizations:

      Dunlap and Associates, Incorporated

      110 Lenox Avenue
      Stamford, CT  United States  06906
    • Start Date: 20140923
    • Expected Completion Date: 20200930
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: Behavioral Safety Research
    • Subprogram: Older Driver

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01620670
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    • Contract Numbers: DTNH2209D00138/0009, DTNH2216D00023, DTNH2217F00107
    • Files: RiP, USDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 5 2017 12:18PM