Assessment of the elderly driver and his adaptation to traffic

Age per se is not a reason to stop driving, the most important is driving performance

Age per se is not a reason to stop driving, the most important is driving performance, that will improve if the driver knows that his physical ability has changed and makes the appropriate changes in his program of activities.

Age affects reflexes and though elderly people are wiser, they need more time to process information and react. This makes driving even more difficult for them, as traffic and road conditions change continually, and they should evaluate them fast to take the appropriate decisions.

The physician and the assessment of the elderly driver

It is not a matter of withdrawing driving licenses, but of improving the elderly person in his disease and capacity, so that he can continue driving with the restrictions and warnings recommended to him.

It is useful to establish an etiological classification of diseases associated with driving, as well as the data analysis of traffic accidents of elderly drivers.

Appropriate criteria should be set for the evaluation of the ability to drive in elderly people, based on neuropsychological studies and of simulation of driving.

Understanding the problems of elderly drivers will lead to the development of a reliable, valid assessment. The objective of the assessment procedure is to identify a minority of elderly people who cannot drive anymore.

Advice on the assessment of the elderly driver and his adaptation to traffic

  • It is good to develop appropriate courses for road safety for elderly people, with recommendations, aids and adaptations of driving. With these courses, the reductions related to the age in the driving skills will be established and in many cases improved.
  • The procedure will result in drivers who can drive properly at an old age, as the driving behavior of elderly people can be established and even be improved through the application of the adequate methods of preparation and compensation strategies.
  • We should all help being more tolerant, respectful and collaborate with the elderly drivers, as if we are lucky, we will all reach that age and will face the same. Mutual understanding is essential between drivers of different age groups.
  • There is no age limit for elderly drivers to use a car, and the most appropriate is that both the elderly adult and his family are brave enough to accept the limitations and prevent regretful situations.
  • Although nobody agrees in the enactment of a law to prohibit elderly adults to drive a car, the experts do share the idea of performing more careful physical examinations.
  • The elderly adult who drives should have a medical certificate stating that he can fulfill this type of activity, and that shows the recommended restrictions, depending on the diseases and treatments of the elderly driver.
  • The safety of the elderly people, his family and all the community are more important that the desire of the elderly person to drive. Hence, if it is confirmed that he cannot do it, he must not drive.