What Factors Predict Driving Cessation?

It is common for caregivers to wonder what the most important factors are when it comes to their loved one's ability to drive safely. According to one study, your loved one's self-rated health and cognitive functioning are two broad factors that are most important when contemplating driving cessation.

The study authors wrote,

Drivers were younger and more likely to be male and had better self‐rated health, vision, hearing, and cognitive performance than nondrivers at baseline. In those identified as drivers at baseline, subsequent cessation was associated with increasing age, low grip strength, poorer cognitive performance, and poorer self‐rated health.

In other words, this study found that senior individuals currently driving tend to be younger and view themselves as healthy. Over time, the individuals that stop driving are more likely to be older, have cognitive difficulties, and report their health as poor.

In a practical sense, when you are contemplating how safe your loved one is behind the wheel, you can gauge their safety by simply considering their cognitive health and their self-perceived health (regarding vision, hearing, etc.). This quick method can provide you with a general sense of their driving ability. If you begin to doubt their safety, you can then consult with a doctor or other trained health provider to reach a firm conclusion.

Source: Anstey, Kaarin J., et al. "Predicting driving cessation over 5 years in older adults: Psychological well‐being and cognitive competence are stronger predictors than physical health." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 54.1 (2006): 121-126.