Author(s): Taylor BD, Tripodes S
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Abstract This research explores how the loss of driving privileges by impaired drivers affects households. The particular focus is on the travel behavior and preceptions of people living in households where an elderly driver has had his or her license revoked due to Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. The data for this analysis were drawn from a 1996 survey of households in California which queried the caregivers of people with dementia on how the former drivers access necessary destinations once they can no longer drive, and on the difficulties faced by other household members in seeking alternative means of transportation. After losing their license, the vast majority of people surveyed depended on informal support systems for transportation, such as rides from family and friends. Although such arrangements were not reported to be a problem for the majority of households, certain groups of non-drivers reported difficulty accessing services, particularly social and recreational destinations. The most commonly reported problem was a lack of available licensed drivers to chauffeur non-drivers. Importantly, no increase was observed in the number of people walking, using public transit, taxis, or van services following license revocation. People who did not live with at least one licensed driver and those who were younger and healthier reported the greatest mismatch between their need and desire to travel and the availability of transportation. In addition, some caregivers reported that they frequently missed work or stopped working entirely in order to care for and chauffeur people in the former drivers' household. Overall, these findings reinforce the importance of both developing transportation policies to support the functioning of informal transportation structures and in improving the range of alternative transportation options for those individuals with particular disabilities--like dementia--who are not well served by either informal arrangements or by formal transportation services for the disabled.
This article was published in Accid Anal Prev
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research