Attitudes of physicians toward elderly drivers and driving policy

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1993 Jul;41(7):722-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1993.tb07460.x.


Objective: To examine physicians' attitudes toward and knowledge concerning driving in older persons.

Design: Questionnaire survey.

Measurements: A questionnaire was sent to physician members of the American Geriatrics Society (n = 5009). The questionnaire explored physicians' practice characteristics, general approach to record keeping, frequency of behavior toward educating, counseling, and reporting patients to authorities when deemed appropriate, and their personal understanding of driving issues and physician responsibilities within the state in which they practice.

Results: A response rate of 48% was obtained. There was a lack of consensus among physicians, with a broad range of attitudes and practices dealing with this growing public health concern. Physicians generally believed that they had a legal responsibility to assess driving ability but were uncertain about how to assess driving competence and their responsibility toward their senior patients who drive.

Conclusions: Physician practices concerning the appropriate management of older drivers vary widely. Physicians should be aware that medical literature is available to aid in the evaluation of the elderly driver with medical impairments. In addition, physicians should consider referring their elderly patients to driver refresher courses to improve or maintain their driving skills. More research is needed to help guide health professionals in assessing the frail elder with multiple medical impairments and decreasing the crash risk for the older driver.

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / psychology*