Age Predicts Older Adults' Driving Self-Regulation but Not Dangerous Driving Behaviors after Controlling for Executive Function

Gerontology. 2022;68(1):98-105. doi: 10.1159/000515497. Epub 2021 Apr 7.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to examine the unique contributions of age to objectively measure driving frequency and dangerous driving behaviors in healthy older adults after adjusting for executive function (EF).

Method: A total of 28 community-dwelling older adults (mean age = 82.0 years, standard deviation [SD] = 7.5) without dementia who were in good physical health and enrolled in a longitudinal aging study completed several EF and clinical self-report measures at baseline. Participants subsequently had a sensor installed in their vehicle for a mean of 208 (SD = 38, range = 127-257) days.

Results: Participants drove for an average of 54 min per day. Mixed-effects models indicated that after controlling for EF, older age was associated with less time driving per day, decreased number of trips, and less nighttime driving. Age was not associated with hard brakes or hard accelerations.

Discussion: After accounting for EF, greater age is associated with higher driving self-regulation but not dangerous driving behaviors in healthy older adults. Future studies should recruit larger samples and collect sensor-measured driving data over a more extended time frame to better determine how and why these self-regulation changes take place.

Keywords: Cognition; Driving; Self-regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Humans
  • Self Report
  • Self-Control*