Objectives: To describe driving patterns (e.g., driving frequency) in older women drivers and to evaluate the impact of medical conditions and comorbidity on driving patterns.
Design: Cross-sectional examination of the association between medical conditions and driving patterns.
Setting: Population-based cohort from the Pittsburgh Center of the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF).
Participants: A total of 1768 women aged 71 years or older.
Main measurements: Driving information was obtained through a driving questionnaire, including driving status, weekly mileage, longest trip in the past year, etc. Data for demographics, lifestyle behavior, and medical conditions were collected through the SOF study.
Results: Among the participants, 1103 (62.3%) were current drivers, 337 (19.1%) had stopped driving, and 329 (18.6%) had never driven in their lifetime. The proportion reporting driving cessation and decline in driving amount increased with age. The prevalence of most medical conditions was higher among former drivers than in current or never drivers. Even after controlling for age and other demographic variables, fractures, heart disease, diabetes, self-reported poor vision or hearing, as well as comorbidity were found to be associated independently with decreased driving amount, including driving cessation, decline in mileage, and avoiding long trips.
Conclusion: Both individual medical conditions and comorbidity influence driving patterns in older drivers. Because it is common for older people to have several medical conditions simultaneously, comorbidity might be a more comprehensive measure of medical impact on driving.