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COGNITIVE SCREENING OF OLDER DRIVERS DOES NOT PRODUCE SAFETY RESUTS.

Abstract
Although screening policies for older drivers based on chronological
age are widely used in many countries, previous research has shown
that increasing age does not cause higher crash rates and that consequently,
chronological age per se is at best only a weak predictor of safe driving
performance. Previous research on age-based mandatory screening of older
drivers has not been able to demonstrate any safety benefits from screening
measures.

The present study is a population-based evaluation of the safety effects
that the introduction of the cognitive test as an age-based screening tool
has had in Denmark. The primary data used came from the Danish road accident
register. The present study compared the number of fatal accidents before &
after the implementation of screening for cognitive impairment.

There were two main findings. First, there was no statistically significant
difference in the number of older drivers involved in fatal accidents before
& after the implementation of the screening process, indicating that the
screening had no effect on the safety of older drivers. Second, there was a
significant increase in the number of unprotected older (but not younger)
road users who were killed between the two periods of observation, suggesting
that the screening process produced a modal shift among older persons from
driving to unprotected, significantly less safe modes of transportation.
As a consequence, the number of fatalities in this group increased.

Older driver screening is an example of a POLITICAL MEASURE that intuitively
makes sense, but fails to produce the desired benefits. On the contrary, on a
system level, it decreases the overall safety and is connected to VARIOUS DIRECT
AND INDIRECT COSTS.

Highlights

? Cognitive test was introduced as an age-based driver screening tool in Denmark.
? Cognitive screening had no effect on the safety of older drivers.
? After the screening fatalities among unprotected, older road users increased.
? Screening a measure that intuitively makes sense, but fails to produce the desired benefits.

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