Open Access Open Badges Research article

An analysis of changes in mobility and safety of older drivers associated with a specific older driver on-road licensing test: a population study

Michael D Keall* and Esther Woodbury

Author Affiliations

Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:165  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-165

Published: 14 February 2014



From 1999 to the end of 2006, older drivers aged 80 plus in New Zealand were subject to an older driver licence test as a condition of licensing. The impact of this test has not yet been studied in terms of the safety and mobility of older people.


Three main data sources were analysed to provide evidence of changes in older driver travel mode choice, licensing rates and injuries: New Zealand Travel Survey data, licensing data and police-reported crash data.


General trends towards higher levels of motorised mobility were apparent for this group over the 20 years studied, but without an obvious change at the points in time when the test was either introduced or removed as a general requirement of licensure. There were also no apparent changes in the levels of pedestrian activity or road injury involving drivers in this age group.


Along with other relevant studies comparing older driver licensing policies across different jurisdictions, this study does not support the generalised use of on-road testing as an assessment mechanism for all older drivers.

Older driver safety; Licensing policy; On-road driving tests; Mobility