Objective: To examine the effect of race in driving performance and behavior prospectively among cognitively normal older adults. Methods: Cognitively normal participants (Clinical Dementia Rating 0), ≥ 65 years of age (n = 177) were selected from prospective, longitudinal studies at the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center at Washington University. Self-reported driving behavior (Driving Habits Questionnaire) and driving performance (road test) were annually assessed. Daily driving behavior data were collected using the Driving Real World In-Vehicle Evaluation System (DRIVES). Baseline differences between African Americans and Caucasians were tested using t tests and general linear models. Amyloid imaging and cerebrospinal fluid Alzheimer disease (AD) biomarkers were compared across groups. Linear mixed models examined change in daily driving behavior over time. Survival analyses tested time to a marginal or fail rating on the road test. Results: There were no differences between African Americans (n = 34) and Caucasians (n = 143) in age, sex, education, or vascular risk factors. Baseline self-reported driving behavior and road test performance were largely similar for both races. Longitudinal analyses using the DRIVES data aggregated monthly showed that African Americans had a greater reduction in number of trips made per month, miles driven per month, and trips with aggressive behavior compared to Caucasians. These effects remained after controlling for AD biomarkers, age, education, and sex. Conclusions: In this sample of cognitively normal older adults, African Americans had a greater reduction of daily driving behavior compared to Caucasians. Observed racial differences may reflect differences in environmental/social factors, changes in cognition, and/or physical functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • African Americans
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Driving
  • Older adults
  • Race


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