Driving Researchers Need Your Help In Finding Ways To Keep Safe Older Drivers Behind The Wheel

Are you over 70, own a 1996 or newer vehicle and drive at least once a week? Candrive needs participants for an important research study.

Eight years ago, two Ottawa researchers, Dr. Shawn Marshall and Dr. Malcolm Man-Son-Hing of the Ottawa Health Research Institute, decided they wanted to address the many driving issues that affect seniors. Reacting to what are often unfair portrayals in the media, the doctors strongly reject age-based restrictions on driving, preferring instead to look at how the symptoms of medical conditions can affect a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities. With an emerging team grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and help from a number of other local health researchers, Candrive – the Canadian Driving Research Initiative for Vehicular Safety in the Elderly – was launched.

Fast forward to today, Candrive is now an established national network of diverse Canadian researchers interested in older driver issues. Research members include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, kinesiologists, epidemiologists, and a number of medical specialists in geriatric medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology and geriatric psychiatry.

Recently awarded a prestigious $5.5 million CIHR grant to continue their work for the next five years, Candrive is about to embark on a multi-centre prospective cohort study of older drivers to determine the key factors that impact their driving safety. Study investigators propose to recruit 1000 older drivers, aged 70 and older, from eight Canadian cities; Victoria, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal. Additionally, colleagues from universities in Australia and Michigan are exploring the possibility of establishing additional international sites for the study. The results of this study will assist Candrive researchers in achieving their primary objective of developing and implementing a validated, easy-to-use clinical screening tool that will allow family practitioners to assess medical fitness to drive in older adults.

Candrive has worked hard to form partnerships with key seniors’ groups (CARP is one), research organizations and governmental and non-governmental agencies to develop political, legislative and moral support for their research agenda. In addition to the cohort study, funding is also provided to conduct seven subprojects in various Canadian cities all centred on issues related to older adults and driving such as the psychosocial, cultural, social and legal aspects of ensuring safety and quality of life for older drivers. Candrive has already influenced transportation policies and has the interest of international researchers and administrators.

Candrive hopes to begin these studies soon but they need you to participate.

If you are interested and wish to find out more call 1 866 233 1133.

Check here for a previous CARP Action article on Candrive: Are You Safe to Drive?

Candrive also has a website www.candrive.ca