By the turn of the century, the elderly will comprise about 20 percent of the population in North" America, and 28 percent of those who drive. Place this percentage in high-powered automobiles, and the need for planning and policy development becomes evident. Most standard research on elderly drivers has not gone beyond gathering data on specific situations or characteristics. This book rises beyond simple statistical presentation. It blends sociological insight with statistical detail to produce an absorbing description of the elderly drivers' daily lives, driving styles, experiences with accident and injury, social relationships, and life aspirations. It also describes areas of neglect: imagined and real health problems, driving exposure and traffic violations, accidents, and loss of self-esteem. It presents in-depth accounts of the trauma of loss of license and the importance of the automobile for sustaining mental, physical, and social well-being. The self-imposed or self-defined rules elderly drivers use to navigate traffic or compensate for physical frailities are described in depth.
The Safety of Elderly Drivers includes penetrating comments from elderly drivers who have been involved in serious accidents, and from random elderly drivers speaking for their generation of drivers. Integrating statistical findings based on Motor Vehicle Department accident data and survey data with comprehensive interviews and discussions with elderly drivers, the book provides an emperically grounded, in-depth view of the elderly driver today. Rothe summarizes theories and models of aging, along with past research on elderly drivers, projecting what the future may hold if present trends in medicine, housing, politics, migration, and mass transit continue. It closes with a series of recommendations for future traffic planning. This book will be of interest to policymakers concerned with traffic safety, as well as social scientists and others interested in gerontological issues. It is the latest in a series on traffic safety sponsored by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in Canada.