Older driver screening program expands to other counties, law enforcement

Jan 18, 2011

Keeping older drivers safe behind the wheel is the goal of a successful program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine now expanding into additional counties. A team of experts from the School's Trauma Epidemiology and Injury Prevention Research Center has received two grants to expand the program, which focuses on interventions to assist older drivers who may be at risk for a crash due to age-related health impairments.

"Our goal is to help older drivers and their physicians identify and address medical conditions that could interfere with safe driving," said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, clinical professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Treatment may be as simple as a new pair of glasses, some adaptive equipment for the car or physical therapy to improve range of motion. However, there are times when driving safely is no longer possible and health care practitioners need to know the signs and symptoms to watch for."

Hundreds of in the San Diego region have been trained through the TREDS (Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety) program using the American Medical Association's screening standards for adult drivers over age 65. The training provides skills to screen and diagnose, make referrals and, when necessary, assist their older patients through the inevitable transition into driving retirement. Hill and her team will expand training to eligible physicians, nurses, medical assistants, occupational therapists and at hospitals and outpatient medical sites in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties, as well as continue their work in the San Diego area.

The TREDS group is expanding its efforts to promote safety for by encouraging to aid in the identification and referral of at-risk drivers.

"Getting older does not mean the end of a person's driving days," said California Highway Patrol (CHP) Chief Jim Abele, commander of CHP's Border Division. "It's the perfect time to evaluate, improve and maintain the safety and mobility of California's senior drivers."

On a daily basis, law enforcement officers face the challenge of sensitively handling older motorists who are driving unsafely. Sensitivity training as well as how to recognize medical conditions which can mimic 'driving under the influence' are now available to law enforcement organizations in selected counties within Southern California.

"If age-related driving issues are left unaddressed, there is a risk of injury not only to the older adults themselves, but also to their families and to others who share the road," said Hill. "Our communities rely on these professionals to look out for our seniors' well-being."

Explore further: Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Drive Safely or Give Up the Keys?

Nov 16, 2007

How does an aging driver know when it’s time to give up the keys? What can be done to maximize the safety of older drivers? These are just two of the questions to be studied by a team at the Trauma Epidemiology and Injury ...

Two-pronged intervention boosts senior driving skills

Oct 16, 2007

Older drivers who couple classroom courses with behind-the-wheel training can significantly improve their driving performance, according to a report published in the latest issue of The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sc ...

Older drivers unaware of risks from medications and driving

Aug 11, 2009

Most older drivers are unaware of the potential impact on driving performance associated with taking medications, according to new research from the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). ...

Drivers ignore the risk of mobile phone use

Dec 11, 2006

A George Institute road safety study has revealed an alarmingly high rate of mobile phone use amongst Australian drivers. Published in the Medical Journal of Australia this week, the survey conducted in NSW and WA found ...

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

Sep 19, 2014

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 19, 2011
I hope this program will NOT be used as an excuse to systematically harass older drivers with discriminatory conditions like more frequent testing to renew drivers licenses and things of that nature. I applaud efforts to identify health conditions that might impair a driver's ability to operate their vehicle safely on the road. But this must NOT be used as an excuse to make assumptions about ALL people over 65. That's just plain age discrimination.