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Educational program increases some safety behaviors for older drivers

NEW YORK--A one-on-one educational safety program for high-risk, visually impaired older drivers increased some behaviors that should help reduce risk for future collisions; however, the program showed no effect on the actual rate of collisions for the period covered by the study, according to Cynthia Owsley, M.S.P.H., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and director of the Clinical Research Unit in the department of ophthalmology, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"This one-on-one program was the Cadillac version of an education program. It was tailored to each individual's needs," said Dr. Owsley. "We don't know how we could improve the program, because it was so comprehensive--nonetheless, it showed no effect on collision rates for this population." Dr. Owsley spoke today at an American Medical Association media briefing on patient communication and adherence in New York City.

Many organizations have created educational programs that aim to increase the safety of older drivers. However, only two of these programs have been evaluated for their effectiveness; neither one reduced collision rates. Dr. Owsley and her co-authors reported on a program that they hoped would show some success through a one-on-one intervention that not only addressed safety issues and strategies to increase safety, but also included a focus on awareness of limitations caused by the driver's visual deficits.

The educational curriculum, Knowledge Enhances Your Safety (KEYS), was motivated by models of health behavior change and health promotion. It was administered one-on-one in two sessions in an eye clinic conference room. The first session was individually tailored to the participant's own driving needs, lifestyle and visual problems. The participant discussed how their visual impairment interfered with safe driving, caused driving performance difficulties/ and elevated crash risk.

The discussion focused on maneuvers and settings that
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Contact: Bob Shepard
bshep@uab.edu
205-934-8934
American Medical Association
4-Mar-2004


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