Research & reports

Title: Supporting older driver mobility and effective self-regulation

Organisation: RAC Foundation
Date uploaded: 13th February 2020
Date published/launched: January 2020

Intuitive in-car technologies are more likely to help keep older drivers safe on the road than any system of mass retesting, this report concludes.

The review of global research was carried out for the RAC Foundation by Dr Julie Gandolfi of Driving Research Ltd.

Among the technologies the study found could benefit older drivers is in-car telematics, currently more associated with young drivers. Telematics involves having a ‘black box’ fitted which senses and records how a vehicle is being driven – data which could highlight to older drivers their strengths and weaknesses behind the wheel.

The study also outlines the potential of driver-assist technologies, such as collision warnings, lane departure alerts, fatigue detection systems and cross-traffic assistance.

However, Dr Gandolfi also urges manufacturers to ensure systems are intuitive and easy to use, and warning signals are easily identifiable and do not create extra confusion or stress.

By contrast, the report points to evidence which suggests it is ‘extremely difficult’ to devise a system of mass retesting which produces meaningful road safety gains.

It uses Japan as an example, where drivers reaching the age of 70 must take part in:

- A lecture
- Aptitude tests involving simulator driving, field of vision checks and night vision capability
- A discussion session
- An on-road driving assessment

The report says “research has failed to find overwhelming support for the effectiveness of these measures in reducing at-fault collisions among older drivers".

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