Self-rated driving and driving safety in older adults

Accid Anal Prev. 2012 Sep;48:523-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.02.015. Epub 2012 Mar 28.


Many U.S. states rely on older adults to self-regulate their driving and determine when driving is no longer a safe option. However, the relationship of older adults' self-rated driving in terms of actual driving competency outcomes is unclear. The current study investigates self-rated driving in terms of (1) systematic differences between older adults with high (good/excellent) versus low (poor/fair/average) self-ratings, and (2) the predictive nature of self-rated driving to adverse driving outcomes in older adults (n=350; mean age 73.9, SD=5.25, range 65-91). Adverse driving outcomes included self-reported incidences of (1) being pulled over by the police, (2) receiving a citation, (3) receiving a recommendation to cease or limit driving, (4) crashes, and (5) state-reported crashes. Results found that older drivers with low self-ratings reported more medical conditions, less driving frequency, and had been given more suggestions to stop/limit their driving; there were no other significant differences between low and high self-raters. Logistic regression revealed older drivers were more likely to have a state-reported crash and receive a suggestion to stop or limit driving. Men were more likely to report all adverse driving outcomes except for receiving a suggestion to stop or limit driving. Regarding self-rated driving, older adults with high ratings were 66% less likely (OR=0.34, 95% CI=0.14-0.85) to have received suggestions to limit or stop driving after accounting for demographics, health and driving frequency. Self-ratings were not predictive of other driving outcomes (being pulled over by the police, receiving a citation, self-reported crashes, or state-reported crashes, ps>0.05). Most older drivers (85.14%) rated themselves as either good or excellent drivers regardless of their actual previous citation or crash rates. Self-rated driving is likely not related to actual driving proficiency as indicated by previous crash involvement in older adults. Suggestions from other individuals to limit or cease driving may be more influential on self-ratings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Automobile Driving / psychology
  • Automobile Driving / standards*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Prospective Studies
  • Safety*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Self Report
  • Social Control, Informal