When working with an older driver, you may notice some behavior that indicates the customer needs further assistance. These might include confusion, difficulty following directions, unsteadiness, vision issues, or limited range of motion/dexterity. You might consider asking a few simple questions to determine if the individual might benefit from a screening or assessment. Tools that States have found useful in this situation include:
- The Driver Orientation Screen for Cognitive impairment (DOSCI(link is external)) is a series of nine questions that give family members/caregivers the opportunity to objectively assess if an older driver needs to be re-evaluated based on cognitive impairments. The DOSCI is also available as an app for your phone.
- TREDS(link is external) is a University of California San Diego program that contains broader tools for the general public outside of California. This self-assessment (link is external)is given to older drivers to evaluate whether or not they’re as safe as they think they are.
- AAA created a 15-question self-rating tool (link is external)for older drivers to evaluate themselves and their safety on the road. After answering the questions, the older driver should evaluate their score and follow the recommended next steps to remain safe on the road.
Based on how the customer responds to these questions, you may want to provide information about screenings and assessments that might help. There are a number of self-assessments that you can refer to any road user who is questioning their safety or any family members who want an objective test to see how safe their family members are behind the wheel. The Self-Assessment and Caregivers’ Rating Tools Handout includes simple questionnaires that an individual or family member/caregiver can use to discuss with their physician and determine if a more extensive, professional assessment might be necessary.
In addition to these screening tools, there are several tools that an older driver can utilize to modify their driving behavior, including:
- AAA, AOTA, and AARP have created CarFit. CarFit offers older drivers an opportunity to learn how to best position and seat themselves in the car. For more information and to find an event near you, visit the CarFit website(link is external).
- The Drivesharp(link is external) tool from Posit Science teaches older drivers how to "retrain their brain" so that they'll be able to drive safer, longer.
- As we age, medications may affect our driving abilities. Roadwise RX(link is external) is a tool that allows users to see how their prescribed medication interacts with their ability to safely operate a vehicle.