The Impact of Advanced Age on Driving Safety in Adults with Medical Conditions

Sanghee Moon, Maud Ranchet, Abiodun Emmanuel Akinwuntan, Mark Tant, David Brian Carr, Mukaila Ajiboye Raji, Hannes Devos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Adults aged 85 and older, often referred to as the oldest-old, are the fastest-growing segment of the population. The rapidly increasing number of older adults with chronic and multiple medical conditions poses challenges regarding their driving safety. Objective: To investigate the effect of advanced age on driving safety in drivers with medical conditions. Methods: We categorized 3,425 drivers with preexisting medical conditions into four age groups: middle-aged (55-64 years, n = 1,386), young-old (65-74 years, n = 1,013), old-old (75-84 years, n = 803), or oldest-old (85 years and older, n = 223). All underwent a formal driving evaluation. The outcome measures included fitness to drive recommendation by the referring physician, comprehensive fitness to drive decision from an official driving evaluation center, history of motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), and history of traffic violations. Results: The oldest-old reported more cardiopulmonary and visual conditions, but less neurological conditions than the old-old. Compared to the middle-aged, the oldest-old were more likely to be considered unfit to drive by the referring physicians (odds ratio [OR] = 4.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.20-9.10) and by the official driving evaluation center (OR = 2.74, 95% CI 1.87-4.03). The oldest-old reported more MVCs (OR = 2.79, 95% CI 1.88-4.12) compared to the middle-aged. Conclusion: Advanced age adversely affected driving safety outcomes. The oldest-old are a unique age group with medical conditions known to interfere with safe driving. Driving safety strategies should particularly target the oldest-old since they are the fastest-growing group and their increased frailty is associated with severe or fatal injuries due to MVCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Driving safety
  • Fitness to drive
  • Motor vehicle crash
  • Oldest-old


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