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Importance of Driving and Potential Impact of Driving Cessation for Rural and Urban Older Adults.

  • Strogatz, David1
  • Mielenz, Thelma J2, 3
  • Johnson, Andrew K1
  • Baker, Ida R1
  • Robinson, Melinda1
  • Mebust, Sean P1
  • Andrews, Howard F2, 4
  • Betz, Marian E5
  • Eby, David W6, 7
  • Johnson, Renee M8
  • Jones, Vanya C8
  • Leu, Cheng Shiun2
  • Molnar, Lisa J6, 7
  • Rebok, George W8
  • Li, Guohua2, 3, 4
  • 1 Bassett Research Institute, Cooperstown, New York.
  • 2 Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York.
  • 3 Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, Columbia University, New York, New York.
  • 4 Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.
  • 5 School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.
  • 6 University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • 7 Center for Advancing Transportation Leadership and Safety, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • 8 Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Published Article
The Journal of rural health : official journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1111/jrh.12369
PMID: 31022317


Analyses compared older drivers from urban, suburban, and rural areas on perceived importance of continuing to drive and potential impact that driving cessation would have on what they want and need to do. The AAA LongROAD Study is a prospective study of driving behaviors, patterns, and outcomes of older adults. A cohort of 2,990 women and men 65-79 years of age was recruited during 2015-2017 from health systems or primary care practices near 5 study sites in different parts of the United States. Participants were classified as living in urban, surburban, or rural areas and were asked to rate the importance of driving and potential impact of driving cessation. Logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and driving-related characteristics. The percentages of older drivers rating driving as "completely important" were 76.9%, 79.0%, and 83.8% for urban, suburban, and rural drivers, respectively (P = .009). The rural drivers were also most likely to indicate driving cessation would have a high impact on what they want or need to do (P < .001). After adjustment for sociodemographic and driving-related characteristics, there was a 2-fold difference for rural versus urban older drivers in odds that driving cessation would have a high impact on what they need to do (OR = 2.03; 95% CI: 1.60-2.58). Older drivers from rural areas were more likely to rate driving as highly important and the prospect of driving cessation as very impactful. Strategies to enhance both the ability to drive safely and the accessibility of alternative sources of transportation may be especially important for older rural adults. © 2019 National Rural Health Association.

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