Elderly sought for driving study

University of Adelaide PhD student (Psychology) Caroline Litster

University of Adelaide PhD student (Psychology) Caroline Litster
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Wednesday, 5 May 2004

New research at the University of Adelaide aims to identify common problems that affect elderly people's driving, in a bid to improve the assessment and training of their driving skills.

The study, by Department of Psychology PhD student Caroline Litster, is looking at changes that occur in people's speed of thought as they age, and how that relates to good driving.

"Speed of thought and perception are believed to be two key areas that affect people's ability to drive," Ms Litster says.

"This research will help us to gain a better understanding of the processes involved in driving when elderly, and hopefully lead to improvements in safety on the roads.

"As part of my research, I hope to develop a screening test that could be used in future licence renewal procedures. We want to make sure that people who have age-related impairments can be identified and retrained, and at the same time make the drivers more aware of any potential problems as they get older.

"Driving is believed to make an important contribution to many older people's quality of life, providing them with independence and self-respect," Ms Litster says. Part of her research will aim to find out exactly how important driving is to older people.

"Ultimately, this work may not only lead to more elderly drivers being able to keep their licences longer, and drive more safely, but also improve their quality of life."

Ms Litster is now seeking participants aged 60 and over, both from the Adelaide metropolitan area and from the country:


  • anyone over the age of 60 who has driven at some time in their life is encouraged to participate;
  • they do not need to hold a current driver's licence;
  • people who have undergone an on-road driving assessment in order to renew or retain their licence are especially encouraged to participate regardless of whether they passed or failed the test;
  • participants will not have to undertake a driving test as part of the study.

For more information, or to join the study, call 8303 3319.

 

Contact Details

Caroline Litster
Email: caroline.litster@student.adelaide.edu.au
PhD student
Department of Psychology
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3319
Mobile: 0414 790 704


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084


Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762