1 Traffic Safety, Department of Transport, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Transport, Technical University of Denmark3 Danish Transport Research Institute, Technical University of Denmark
In the coming years elderly drivers are expected to account for an increasing share of the total number of drivers in the industrialized countries. With improved living conditions and longevity, many elderly keep their driving license well into old age. This creates demands of both the society and the traffic system’s ability to handle and adjust to this new composition of drivers. Previous studies show that the life quality of older people is highly connected with an active and independent use of the surroundings, in which daily transportation and especially car driving plays an important role. This is because the car overall is the safest and most satisfying way of transportation for the older population and creates opportunities for mobility for even the seniors with physical limitations or handicaps. For many older persons access to the surrounding world is conditioned by their possibility of driving. In some cases, however, illness and health conditions can affect the driving ability to such an extent, that it compromises the safety level of the older person’s driving. Here especially dementia has been identified as a significant factor. In many countries it is considered necessary, out of mainly traffic safety reasons, for older drivers to frequently have their driving abilities evaluated. These evaluations are carried out with the use of both physiological and psychological methods and represent a crucial point in the possible reissuing of one’s license as a senior driver. For this reason, and for traffic safety reasons, it is important these evaluations are as accurate as possible. Given this background, the present report aims first, at giving a comprehensive review of how dementia and age influence the driving capability and performance, and second, at providing an overview of the variety of evaluation methods and their reliability in rating the driving capabilities of people suffering from dementia.