The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.
Education and training are important ways to inform older drivers of the physical and cognitive changes experienced as part of the ageing process, on the implications of ceasing to drive and on the choice of safer vehicles. In addition, other people with a particular interest in the safety and mobility of older people, such as doctors, family, vehicle manufacturers, highway engineers, but also other drivers who share the road with older drivers should be informed of the difficulties experienced by older drivers in traffic.
Older drivers need information on the physical and cognitive changes that accompany ageing, and on the implications of ceasing to drive. In particular, it is important to inform older drivers of :
The above information can be disseminated in special meetings organised by traffic safety organisations or by senior citizens' leagues, or it can be published in leaflets to be distributed in buildings frequented by older people. One specific occasion for distributing leaflets would be the medical examination that is required in many European countries to renew the driving licence. Examples of leaflets are:
Training programmes provide a good opportunity for informing the older driver of the physical and cognitive changes that accompany ageing, difficulties that may arise in traffic as a result of these changes, and how to modify driving strategies to avoid these difficulties. In addition, attention can be paid to difficult traffic situations in the neighbourhood and new traffic rules. The programme can be supplemented with a practical training module or assessment drive. Examples of training programmes are the German programme called 'Altere aktive Kraftfahrer' and the BROEM-drives that are organised in the Netherlands.
The German programme 'Altere aktive Kraftfahrer' consists of four successive seminars that are run in the style of a workshop. Participants are encouraged to examine their own behaviour and driving habits behind the wheel, by discussion and the sharing of experiences. The courses offer older drivers the opportunity of keeping up to date with the latest driving regulations and of resolving individual problems which may have arisen from their own driving experiences.
The Dutch BROEM is a voluntary assessment drive for drivers over 50 years of age; it is not a driving test. The BROEM drive includes assessment of driving style, eyesight and response times, and provides a refresher course on traffic rules. The drive is supplemented by a reference book which includes information on the effects of age on driving and gives helpful advice to older drivers. After the drive, the participant is given a report indicating his strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions for improvement.