Purpose: To understand the driving behavior of older adults, this study examines self-reported reasons for driving limitation or avoidance.
Design and methods: Baseline interviews were conducted (n = 2,046) as part of a community-based study of aging and physical performance in persons aged 55 years or older in Sonoma, California. Twenty-one medical and nonmedical reasons for limiting or avoiding driving were examined by age and gender.
Results: Most older people continue to drive; however, many, especially older women, report one or more reasons to limit or avoid driving. Among medical reasons, problems with eyesight are by far the most often cited; no other health problem was identified as a major reason for limitation. Among nonmedical reasons, being concerned about an accident, being concerned about crime, and having no reason to drive were often cited. Important predictors of reported driving limitations were low income, limited functional status, and self-report of poor vision.
Implications: Understanding factors that affect driving patterns in older adults, including medical and nonmedical reasons, will assist in developing both enhancements to extend safe driving years and responses to the consequences of driving reduction.