A comparison of reported driving self-regulation by older adults and GPS based measurements of their actual driving exposure

Researchers have argued that self-regulation of driving can assist older drivers to reduce their crash and injury risk, while maintaining some degree of mobility. Past research on self-regulation has relied on self-report methods. The present study used objective driving data to examine whether the degree to which older drivers report avoiding difficult driving situations corresponds to actual behaviour. Fifty-five drivers aged 75 years and older completed a questionnaire on their avoidance of four difficult driving situations (making right turns across traffic, driving on a freeway or high-speed highway, driving in peak hour traffic, and driving at night) and had their driving monitored using global positioning system (GPS) devices fitted to their vehicles. Their driving in the each of the situations was identified in the GPS data. The selfreport and GPS measurements did not correspond. For each difficult situation, self-reported avoidance had no relationship with objectively measured driving patterns. A majority of participants reported that they ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ avoided each situation but objective data were consistent with greater degrees of self-regulation. This suggests that many older drivers self-regulate more than they report. Furthermore, while past research has consistently found self-reported self-regulation to increase with age and to be higher for older female drivers, the degree of actual driving in each of the four difficult situations did not differ between participants aged 75–79 and those aged 80 and older or between male and female participants. Given the current finding of a discrepancy between subjective measurements of self-regulation and objective measurements of actual driving, future research may be needed to reassess common understandings about self-regulation that have been derived from the findings of self-report based studies.

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    • This paper was originally prepared for presentation at the 16th International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology in Brisbane, August 2016, and has been selected as one of the best ‘young researcher’ papers at the Conference. It has been accepted for publication with revisions after being critically reviewed by at least two recognised experts in the relevant field.
  • Authors:
    • Thompson, J P
    • Baldock, M R
    • Mathias, J L
    • Wundersitz, L N
  • Publication Date: 2016-9

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  • Accession Number: 01638113
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 19 2017 10:55AM