7. Elder Drivers and Technology
- William C. Mann PhD Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology and Aging
Published Online: 27 JUN 2005
Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science
How to Cite
McCarthy, D. P. (2005) Elder Drivers and Technology, in Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science (ed W. C. Mann), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/0471743941.ch7
University of Florida, PO Box 100164, Gainesville, FL 32610-0164, USA
- Published Online: 27 JUN 2005
- Published Print: 24 JUN 2005
Print ISBN: 9780471696940
Online ISBN: 9780471743941
- older driver;
- driving assessment and remediation;
- occupational therapy;
Enjoying a high quality of life in later years requires the ability to participate in social and leisure activities and obtain desired goods and services. For most Americans and much of the developed world, mobility is associated with the private automobile. With the projected increase of elders in the future comes the expectation of an increased number of older drivers, and continued reliance on the automobile.
Age associated, health related changes may affect a person's ability to drive safely, putting this population at higher risk for injury and motor vehicle deaths when involved in a crash. Often, elders are forced by a lack of acceptable alternatives to the car to continue driving past the time when they are safe to do so. However, the severe psychosocial consequences associated with driving cessation mandates that we allow seniors to drive as long as safely possible.
Several methods are currently employed to achieve this goal. These methods include self-restriction, educational programs, driver rehabilitation programs, simulated driving, and the use of technology.
Technological applications have the potential to increase elders' safe driving. In-vehicle systems may communicate roadway or vehicle conditions to the driver or may intervene in case of a impending crash. Some technologies assist in wayfinding tasks or other, such as visual enhancement systems, compensate for decreased abilities. Technologies being incorporated into the roadway infrastructure and often communicate with vehicles. Automobiles designed with the elder driver in mind may facilitate safe use.
Although technology has the potential to help elder drivers stay on the road safely for a longer period of time, the interface of the technology and driver must be carefully designed with the elder mind, lest these technologies prove to be distracting rather than assisting older drivers.