Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Vol 52, Issue 3 M184-M187, Copyright © 1997 by The Gerontological Society of America
Self-report versus state records for identifying crashes among older drivers
RA Marottoli, LM Cooney Jr and ME Tinetti
VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven.
BACKGROUND: There is growing concern about the potential safety
implications of the increasing number of older drivers. A primary
consideration in determining risk is the method of outcome ascertainment.
In the case of motor vehicle crashes, the two most common methods are
self-report and state records of events. METHODS: The self-report of motor
vehicle crashes was compared to state records among all active drivers (n =
358) in a representative cohort of community-living individuals age 72
years and older in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1989. In the baseline
interview, participants who reported driving were asked if they had had any
crashes in the previous year. This was compared to state-recorded crashes
over the same period. RESULTS: Of the 358 drivers, 33 either reported or
had a state record of a crash in the previous year. Of the 33, 20 were
identified by self- report only, 9 by both self-report and state records,
and 4 by state records only. In the two cases where license reexamination
was requested by the officer at the scene, both drivers reported the event
in the interview. CONCLUSIONS: Self-report and state records provide
complementary information for the ascertainment of crashes among older
drivers, although in this sample self-report yielded more events.