Cognitive, sensory and physical factors enabling driving safety in older adults

Clin Psychol Rev. 2005 Jan;25(1):45-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2004.07.008.


We reviewed literature on cognitive, sensory, motor and physical factors associated with safe driving and crash risk in older adults with the goal of developing a model of factors enabling safe driving behaviour. Thirteen empirical studies reporting associations between cognitive, sensory, motor and physical factors and either self-reported crashes, state crash records or on-road driving measures were identified. Measures of attention, reaction time, memory, executive function, mental status, visual function, and physical function variables were associated with driving outcome measures. Self-monitoring was also identified as a factor that may moderate observed effects by influencing driving behavior. We propose that three enabling factors (cognition, sensory function and physical function/medical conditions) predict driving ability, but that accurate self-monitoring of these enabling factors is required for safe driving behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology
  • Automobile Driving* / psychology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*