Objective: To identify the factors associated with automobile crashes, moving violations, and being stopped by police in a cohort of elderly drivers.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Urban community.
Participants: All 283 persons who drove between 1990 and 1991, selected from a representative cohort of community-living persons aged 72 years and older in New Haven, Connecticut.
Measurements: Data on independent variables in five domains (demographic, health, psychosocial, activity, and physical performance) were collected in structured interviews before events occurred. The outcome measure was the self-report of involvement in automobile crashes, moving violations, or being stopped by police in a 1-year period.
Results: Of the 283 drivers, 13% reported a crash, a moving violation, or being stopped by police in 1 year. The baseline factors associated with the occurrence of adverse events in multivariable analysis (with adjustment for driving frequency and housing type) were the following: poor design copying on the Mini-Mental State Examination (relative risk, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.5 to 5.0), fewer blocks walked (relative risk, 2.3; CI, 1.3 to 4.0), and more foot abnormalities (relative risk, 1.9; CI, 1.1 to 3.3). These risk factors were combined for assessment of their ability to predict the occurrence of adverse driving events. If no factors were present, 6% of drivers had events; if 1 factor was present, 12% had events; if 2 factors were present, 26% had events; and if 3 factors were present, 47% had events.
Conclusions: In this urban population, several simple clinical measures correlated with the risk for adverse driving events.