Health literacy of older drivers and the importance of health experience for self-regulation of driving behaviour

Accid Anal Prev. 2011 May;43(3):898-905. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.11.012. Epub 2010 Dec 10.


This study provides much needed information on the education level of older drivers regarding the impact of health conditions and medications on personal driving safety, where they source this information, and how this knowledge influences self-regulation of driving. Random and convenience sampling secured 322 Australian drivers (63.9% males) aged 65 years and over (M = 77.35 years, SD = 7.35) who completed a telephone interview. The majority of respondents (86%) had good knowledge about health conditions (health knowledge) and driving safety, however more than 50% was classified as having poor knowledge on the effects of certain medications (medication knowledge) and driving safety. Poorer health knowledge was associated with a reduced likelihood of driving over 100 km in adjusted models. Being older and having more than one medical condition was found to increase the likelihood of self-regulation of driving. Results indicate that health knowledge was less important for predicting driving behaviour than health experience. Of great interest was that up to 85.7% of respondents reported not receiving advice about the potential impact of their medical condition and driving from their doctor. The findings indicate a need for improved dissemination of evidence-based health information and education for older drivers and their doctors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Literacy*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Control, Informal*