Why are older people thinking of giving up driving?

Issue date: 08 March 2010


Driving Are you thinking of giving up driving? Are you starting to think about reducing your dependency on the car and using public transport more regularly? Have you recently been diagnosed with illness or impairment that prevents you from driving?

A researcher from the University of the West of England wants to talk to older people who have recently stopped driving or are considering changing driving habits.

Dr Charles Musselwhite is about to embark on a project to discover more detail about the reasons people give up driving and how it impacts on their lives. The project is funded by a UWE Early Career Researcher Grant, one of 20 such grants recently established by the University, for pilot projects that can act as a bridge to future bids to major funding councils.

“I want to talk to people at different stages of this decision process to find out what impact not driving or the anticipation of not driving is having on their lives.” explains Charles. “We already know from previous research that people who stop driving gradually tend to have less problems than those who are told to or forced to give-up there and then, as they start to use public transport or share lifts as a way of easing into stopping altogether.

“I'm interested in the thought processes people have, do they anticipate that as they get older, giving up is inevitable as for example eyesite gets worse or they start to feel more frail? I'm also interested in whether the experience is different for men than it is for women. How key is location and accessibilty to local transport? What support networks do people have? Are some gearing up for this change in their lives by combining car use with public transport or are people changing some habits by for example doing shopping on-line to avoid using transport for all their chores?”

If you are interested in taking part in the project as a participant Dr Musselwhite would be very interested in hearing from you. The commitment will potentially involve an interview, a group discussion and an agreement to record data about your travel habits for a period of four to six weeks. Expenses will be paid.

Contact Charles Musselwhite at UWE by e-mail Charles.Musselwhite@uwe.ac.uk or 0117 32 83010

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