Licence restrictions as an under-used strategy in managing older driver safety

Accid Anal Prev. 2011 Jan;43(1):487-93. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.09.005.


While many older drivers remain unimpaired or otherwise effectively compensate for functional deficits, a minority are currently faced with two main options: either continue to drive with arguably an unacceptable crash risk; or cease driving, perhaps at the instigation of licensing authorities. Licence restrictions represent a possible third option for some older drivers, by better managing crash risk while still allowing acceptable levels of mobility. The present study has explored licence restrictions as applied to Victorian older drivers over a ten-year period. It has identified the types of restrictions and their extent of use in recent years, plus indications of potential safety benefits that may result from restricted licencing practices. Less than 10% of the older driver cohort had a licence restriction and in around 95% of instances, the restriction related to the need to wear corrective lenses; these numbers precluded a conclusive evaluation of safety benefits. However, two important findings emerged. First, the imposition of a licence restriction was usually associated with a reduction in absolute crash rates. Second, three restrictions were identified that most readily form the basis of a graduated driving reduction program.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eyeglasses
  • Humans
  • Licensure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Public Policy
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety Management / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Victoria