Background: As an important indicator of mobility, driving confers a host of social and health benefits to older adults. Despite the importance of safe mobility as the population ages, longitudinal data are lacking about the natural history and determinants of driving safety in older adults.
Methods: The Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project is a multisite prospective cohort study designed to generate empirical data for understanding the role of medical, behavioral, environmental and technological factors in driving safety during the process of aging.
Results: A total of 2990 active drivers aged 65-79 years at baseline have been recruited through primary care clinics or health care systems in five study sites located in California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, and New York. Consented participants were assessed at baseline with standardized research protocols and instruments, including vehicle inspection, functional performance tests, and "brown-bag review" of medications. The primary vehicle of each participant was instrumented with a small data collection device that records detailed driving data whenever the vehicle is operating and detects when a participant is driving. Annual follow-up is being conducted for up to three years with a telephone questionnaire at 12 and 36 months and in-person assessment at 24 months. Medical records are reviewed annually to collect information on clinical diagnoses and healthcare utilization. Driving records, including crashes and violations, are collected annually from state motor vehicle departments. Pilot testing was conducted on 56 volunteers during March-May 2015. Recruitment and enrollment were completed between July 2015 and March 2017.
Conclusions: Results of the LongROAD project will generate much-needed evidence for formulating public policy and developing intervention programs to maintain safe mobility while ensuring well-being for older adults.