Oudere verkeersdeelnemers.

Brouwer, W.H. & Davidse, R.J.

Through changes in its distribution, the population of the Netherlands older than 65 has gradually increased during the last few years. This increase will accelerate from about 2010. The largest increase will be in those older than 75, which will number more than 2 million in 2050. This last group requires the most attention because of the large chance of function limitations through traffic participation. As far as road safety is concerned, the main problems of the elderly road users are their physical vulnerability and mental function disorders; these make certain modes of transport problematical. The last mentioned problem is relevant for all modes of transport, including public transport, but the function disorders that are the most limiting are different for each mode of transport. The vulnerability problem has the most severe consequences for the 'unprotected' modes of transport, such as walking or by two-wheeler, and the least severe consequences for the traditional public transport. The car is somewhere in between, but it is to be expected that this position will become more favourable. This is because ever more cars are equipped with passive safety systems that can prevent injury. Currently, the driving licence and car ownership is considerably less among the elderly than the younger adults, especially women. This will, however, change in the future so that there will be relatively more elderly motorists in traffic. The elderly also travel less kilometres than the younger adults, mainly because they no longer drive to, during, or from their work. However, they are involved in accidents rather more often per kilometre travelled, and they are (legally) more often the guilty party. The accidents occur mainly in complex situations in which attention has to be divided and there is less time to do so. The negative consequences of 'getting old normally' are relatively greater in motoric coordination and keeping balance. Relatively speaking, as a result of this, walking and cycling are more problematic trips for the elderly than driving a car. Moreover, in the car one is protected better against external forces. Being able to drive a car becomes problematic only when illnesses and disorders severely reduce the visual and cognitive functions. Three categories of age-related disorders that can result in being unsuitable to independently drive a car are dealt with, viz. eye diseases, strokes, and dementia. Also dealt with is how the traffic system; i.e. all drivers, vehicles, traffic infrastructure, and traffic rules; could be improved to make it more user-friendly for the growing group of elderly road users.

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C 24364 [electronic version only]

In: Handboek Psychologie van de Volwassen Ontwikkeling & Veroudering, onder red. van J.J.F. Schroots, Van Gorcum, 2002, p. 505-531, 67 ref.


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