Refresher courses for older drivers: a literature study

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This paper is based on a literature survey on refresher courses for older drivers, which was conducted in a project commissioned by the Norwegian Road Administration. The aim was to determine if there is any scientific evidence that refresher courses are an effective intervention for older drivers in terms of sustained safe mobility. The current literature study covering the period 1999 to 2009 provides some evidence that refresher courses can be an effective means to promote both mobility and safety for older drivers. Most studies were conducted in the US and Canada. Courses were grouped in to general and traffic specific education (theoretical) and training (practical). General education can include e.g. knowledge about aging and performance while general training can be e.g. cognitive training programs. Traffic specific education includes e.g. knowledge of new traffic rules while traffic specific training can be closed track driving with an instructor. Most courses were theoretical and consisted of a mix of general knowledge on aging and traffic specific knowledge on handling critical situations and often promoting a cautious driving style. A wide range of methods were used ranging from traditional classroom teaching to coaching by driving instructors. Simulator based training was seldom used even if a general interest is often expressed by participants. Both learning theories and evaluation methods should be further developed, not the least with respect recent neuropsychological research on aging and cognition.

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