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New Older Driver Assessment Tool Being Developed

Media Release: 5 February 2008

New Tool For Older Driver Assessment Being Developed

The AA Driver Education Foundation congratulates the winners of this year’s Transport Research and Education Trust Board award.

The winners, researchers at the Van der Veer Institute in Christchurch, are developing a screening device which will assist General Medical Practitioners to quickly and objectively predict whether there are concerns about older drivers having the ability to continue on as licensed drivers or whether they should be referred to Land Transport NZ for further assessment.

Mr Rob Lester, Trustee of the AA Driver Education Foundation Board says “the Foundation is concerned for the safety of older drivers and is aware that recent legislative changes removed the mandatory testing of older drivers. Most older drivers sailed through the practical test, though this was a stressful experience for many. Under the new rules the doctors of older drivers have the task of screening their patients’ fitness to drive.”

“The ability to drive is very important to accessing an independent lifestyle. Doctors have some tough decisions to make as they will not want to remove the right to drive from their own patients without good reason. To make these decisions, doctors need a reliable assessment tool that they can use to screen their patients’ sensory-motor and cognitive abilities, to predict fitness to drive.”

“The Van der Veer Institute’s project has the potential to make the assessment procedure easier to manage for doctors and older drivers and will give older drivers a better understanding of their personal capability to continue as safe drivers.”

“We welcome any initiative which provides some balance to a judgement call where medical opinion can be assisted with a reference check. This is a timely, research-based initiative that will be welcomed by doctors and the older drivers alike,” says Mr Lester

The AA Driver Education Foundation wishes the Van der Veer Institute every success with its project.


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