Predictors of automobile crashes and moving violations among elderly drivers

Ann Intern Med. 1994 Dec 1;121(11):842-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-121-11-199412010-00003.


Objective: To identify the factors associated with automobile crashes, moving violations, and being stopped by police in a cohort of elderly drivers.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Urban community.

Participants: All 283 persons who drove between 1990 and 1991, selected from a representative cohort of community-living persons aged 72 years and older in New Haven, Connecticut.

Measurements: Data on independent variables in five domains (demographic, health, psychosocial, activity, and physical performance) were collected in structured interviews before events occurred. The outcome measure was the self-report of involvement in automobile crashes, moving violations, or being stopped by police in a 1-year period.

Results: Of the 283 drivers, 13% reported a crash, a moving violation, or being stopped by police in 1 year. The baseline factors associated with the occurrence of adverse events in multivariable analysis (with adjustment for driving frequency and housing type) were the following: poor design copying on the Mini-Mental State Examination (relative risk, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.5 to 5.0), fewer blocks walked (relative risk, 2.3; CI, 1.3 to 4.0), and more foot abnormalities (relative risk, 1.9; CI, 1.1 to 3.3). These risk factors were combined for assessment of their ability to predict the occurrence of adverse driving events. If no factors were present, 6% of drivers had events; if 1 factor was present, 12% had events; if 2 factors were present, 26% had events; and if 3 factors were present, 47% had events.

Conclusions: In this urban population, several simple clinical measures correlated with the risk for adverse driving events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged* / psychology
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving / standards
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Foot Deformities, Acquired
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Walking