Author(s): Vrkljan BH, Polgar JM
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The objective of this article is to explore relationship between older drivers and their passengers (co-pilots) and potential implications of in-vehicle navigation technology on their driving safety. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 44 healthy, community-dwelling older adults (aged 60-83) or 22 married couples. Males identified themselves as drivers and females identified themselves as passengers (i.e., co-pilot). RESULTS: Findings indicate that operating a motor vehicle in older adulthood is a shared activity between drivers and passengers. Older drivers and co-pilots reported their level of interaction depended on their familiarity with their route. Navigating unfamiliar areas, particularly large urban centers, was identified as the most challenging driving situation. Participants identified their level of collaboration would increase with the advent of in-vehicle navigation technology. Safety concerns related to the use of this technology, included distraction of both drivers and passengers. Differences amongst couples in their perceptions of using this technology were linked to their level of experience with using other forms of technology. CONCLUSIONS: Older drivers and passengers identified working closely together when operating a motor vehicle. Further investigation into the effects of in-vehicle navigation technology on the driving safety of older drivers and their co-pilots is warranted.
This article was published in Traffic Inj Prev
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics