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Older drivers, families and GPs: Navigating the path between mobility and safety

41 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor Rebecca McLean
Health issue:
Injury (intentional and unintentional)
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Most older New Zealanders travel by private car and continuing to drive is key to mobility, independence and quality of life. Giving up driving can have serious negative consequences for older people’s health and wellbeing. It is also important, however, that older drivers and other road users remain as safe as possible. While older drivers have relatively few crashes, due to frailty they have a high crash fatality rate. A multi-faceted approach to the needs of an ageing population, balancing safety and mobility, is required. For this study we will interview older drivers, their families, and GPs to better understand travel patterns, driving behaviours, and fitness-to-drive issues. This study’s findings will help develop evidence-based policy and programmes to address mobility and safety, to 1) maintain independence through driving for as long as safely possible; and 2) identify assistance needed by support networks to manage driving cessation and minimise negative consequences.