Can Older Drivers Be Nudged?

Feb 7, 2011 | REPORTS

Today’s older people are driving further and more often than previous cohorts, and cars remain vital to people’s mobility in later life. There is a need to consider how to maintain the road safety of older drivers in an ageing society.

The report considers how insights from behavioural economics and psychology can be utilised to ‘nudge’ older people towards more sensible decisions around driving in later life. There is evidence that individuals do restrict, reduce or cease driving as they get older, but that they may not be self-regulating effectively due to a lack of support, information and appropriate incentives in the wider regulatory system. In many cases this leads to over¬-regulation by individuals and their families, and makes decisions about driving unnecessarily traumatic.

The report draws upon the nudge agenda to make a series of practical recommendations, including:

* A system of self-selected licensing restrictions to instil a ‘norm’ of self-regulation
* Financial incentives offered by insurance companies and/or licensing authorities to encourage self-regulation
* Self-certification of fitness to drive at age 70 extended to all drivers
* Greater provision of education and training for drivers, including through social media and smartphone applications
* More training for healthcare professionals on the impact of ageing on driving, so they can more effectively advise patients and their families

Author: Craig Berry