Title: Older driver training interventions
Organisation: Devon County Council
Date uploaded: 26th August 2010
Date published/launched: January 2010
A literature review of older driver training interventions: implications for the delivery programmes by Devon County Council and Devon Road Casualty Reduction Partnership.
Older driver training ultimately intends to increase awareness and knowledge of driving safely in order to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision. Crash involvement and severity are rarely used as a metric due to the difficulty of studying participation at training interventions and subsequent crash risk. Training interventions rest on the assumption that increasing safer driving knowledge and skills will reduce drivers risk. The use of collision data is the ultimate measure of effectiveness but is often complex to explore.
A number of recommendations for Devon County Council have been made from the evidence on older driver training interventions.
1. To ensure that older drivers participate in a combination of both in-class education and on-road training as this has shown to produce the highest increase in driver knowledge, awareness and safe skills specific to driving.
2. Criteria for the effectiveness of older driver training interventions need to be established.
3. Gender differences have been identified in terms of the compensatory strategies of driving and driving cessation. Information given to women needs to focus on driving skills and increased confidence for difficult driving situations (women are more inclined to stop driving unnecessarily early). In comparison men (who tend to delay driving cessation) need information on age-related declines influencing their driving and support about driving cessation.
4. Despite evidence of the need for practical training, it has been shown that self-assessment tools can be useful in providing older drivers an opportunity to examine their skills. It can also be used as a discussion point for addressing age-related declines with their family.
5. In order to increase learning transfer during in-class education an interactive lecture style should be adopted and key aspects of workshop material should be repeated to ensure it is retained by older people. Material to read following the workshop allows individuals to learn at their own speed and reduces the amount of information being presented in the workshop.
6. In the future it may be useful to follow the three-step approach used in this report in the decision making and reasoning processes for interventions. The target audience needs and perspectives identified, relevant crash data examined and existing intelligence review to identify best practice.
In addition, there are several areas that have potential to benefit older drivers, but are, as yet, under explored. These include;
• Many training intervention studies use a methodology that compares an intervention and no intervention. There is a lack of information on the content of the intervention and which aspects of the content are effective at increasing safer driving knowledge and skills. The content of interventions could be explored further.
• Cognitive training includes tasks where older adults performance of memory, attention and motor skills are increased. These skills are used when driving; therefore this type of training intervention may increase older drivers safety.
• Establishing the relative frequency of the older driver as victim or perpetrator in collisions. This will inform decisions as to the content of interventions, should they be skills based (perpetrator) or train drivers in defensive strategies (victim).
• Mechanisms to increase the participation of older drivers in training interventions so that they reach a larger and more varied sample of the target population.
• Whether on-road training sessions should take a coaching or didactic approach.
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