• Bassett Research Institute to Provide Data for Study on Older Drivers Through 2022

    Bassett Healthcare Network

    February 26, 2019

    Bassett Research Institute has been providing data on 600 rural drivers, ages 65 – 79, for the LongROAD (Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers) Study since 2015 and will do so for another four years. This nationwide study, funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and coordinated by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, aims to determine what factors impact driving safety in older drivers. Bassett Research Institute is one of five sites that has recruited individuals for the study, along with Johns Hopkins University, University of California (San Diego), University of Colorado (Denver) and University of Michigan. Bassett is the only site contributing data on older rural drivers, who were recruited from primary care practices in Cooperstown, Cobleskill and Cherry Valley. Some early study findings are already being published.

    “Some of the early results of the LongROAD Study show the extent to which older drivers have and are using in-vehicle advanced technologies, such as cameras, sensors for blind-spot and lane-departures, and that drivers who ‘self-regulate’ or adjust their driving habits according to their physical and visual ability may fare better,” says David Strogatz, PhD, director of the Center for Rural Community Health at Bassett Research Institute. “We are trying to determine how we may better predict driving outcomes for older drivers. Having the Bassett region as one of the study sites will also allow us to assess whether those predictors work differently in rural versus urban places.”

    The data from all sites, the collection for which is currently funded through 2022, will help researchers better understand the role of physical and cognitive functions, medical conditions, medications and vehicle technologies in driving safety. Driver data include detailed in-person assessments of participants along with information from medical records on health conditions and medications.

    “Study results will help determine what kind of evaluations and guidance might work to keep people driving for as long as they can safely do so. Also, to discover the best ways to maintain quality of life when transitioning from driving to nondriving and to help people meet their mobility needs after stopping driving,” says Strogatz. “The ultimate goal of the project is to generate additional evidence to support the safety and independence of older drivers.”