Attitudes among older drivers towards medical assessment at renewal of driving license in Sweden

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Purpose: The aim was to examine attitudes among older adults in Sweden as regards a possible legislation for medical assessment at license renewal depending on their health status (vision and hearing) and gender.

Methods: A questionnaire study measuring attitudes towards medical assessments at license renewal and an examination of vision, hearing, and cognitive abilities was conducted by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute. 109 participants older than 60 years participated in the study (58 women, 51 men). They were categorized into four groups according to their health status: (1) without any visual or hearing impairment, (2) visual impairment, (3) hearing impairment, and (4) visual and hearing impairment. All data collection was performed in a driving assessment situation.

Results: The answers showed positive attitudes towards recurring vision test (94% positive) and recurring medical assessments (93% positive). A majority wanted to include tests of visual acuity, contrast vision, and visual field. The most common choice was a starting point of 70 years and an interval of 2–3 years. Gender effects showing that woman were more positive towards some assessment and shorter time intervals between them was revealed. No significant effect of hearing or vision decline was found. Better results on cognitive tests was associated with positive attitudes towards medical testing.

Conclusions: The participants were positive towards medical assessments at license renewal, indicating that there is an acceptance in the population for such legislation. Even short intervals such as every two or three years were accepted.

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