Impact of driving cessation on health-related quality of life trajectories

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2024 Feb 1;22(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s12955-024-02231-4.


Background: Trajectories of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) after driving cessation (DC) are thought to decline steeply, but for some, HRQoL may improve after DC. Our objective is to examine trajectories of HRQoL for individuals before and after DC. We hypothesize that for urban drivers, volunteers and those who access alternative transportation participants' health may remain unchanged or improve.

Methods: This study uses data from the AAA Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) study, a prospective cohort of 2,990 older drivers (ages 65-79 at enrollment). The LongROAD study is a five-year multisite study and data collection ended October 31, 2022. Participants were recruited using a convenience sample from the health centers roster. The number of participants approached were 40,806 with 7.3% enrolling in the study. Sixty-one participants stopped driving permanently by year five and had data before and after DC. The PROMIS®-29 Adult Profile was utilized and includes: 1) Depression, 2) Anxiety, 3) Ability to Participate in Social Roles and Activities, 4) Physical Function, 5) Fatigue, 6) Pain Interference, 7) Sleep Disturbance, and 8) Numeric Pain Rating Scale. Adjusted (age, education and gender) individual growth models with 2989 participants with up to six observations from baseline to year 5 in the models (ranging from n = 15,041 to 15,300) were utilized.

Results: Ability to participate in social roles and activities after DC improved overall. For those who volunteered, social roles and activities declined not supporting our hypothesis. For those who accessed alternative transportation, fatigue had an initial large increase immediately following DC thus not supporting our hypothesis. Urban residents had worse function and more symptoms after DC compared to rural residents (not supporting our hypothesis) except for social roles and activities that declined steeply (supporting our hypothesis).

Conclusions: Educating older adults that utilizing alternative transportation may cause initial fatigue after DC is recommended. Accessing alternative transportation to maintain social roles and activities is paramount for rural older adults after DC especially for older adults who like to volunteer.

Keywords: Health-related quality of life and driving cessation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Fatigue
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*