1. McCarthy, Dennis P. PhD, OTR/L

Article Content

This is the second of 2 special issues of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation addressing the transitioning from driver to passenger. The first issue focused on mobility concepts, perspectives of adult children and caregivers of older drivers, mobility options, and the effects of driving cessation and presented findings from a support group developed to ease the transition to driving retirement. This issue continues along that avenue while examining the implications of our growing elderly population, noting gender differences in self-regulation and cessation, and providing additional ideas to promote and develop effective interventions to enable elders to go where they want, when they want.


First, Eberhard and Mitchell provide readers with some background information regarding driver licensing, fatality rates, and gender differences between the United States and the United Kingdom. They discuss the question of need for adequate transportation alternatives to driving and promoting/prolonging safe personal mobility.


Driving cessation can be considered the ultimate expression of self-regulation and at the far end of the transition continuum. Morgan, Winter, Classen, McCarthy, and Awadzi completed a comprehensive literature review to examine gender differences with regard to self-regulation and cessation. The authors cite the need for additional studies, with stronger research designs, to examine gender differences among older drivers to better understand this transition process. Gender-based implications for interventions are noted as well as a novel approach targeting older women drivers.


Petrakos and Freund then examine self-reported driving habits 3 months prior to a formal driving evaluation. Their findings emphasize the need for self-awareness to adequately compensate for deficits that may affect driving and suggest potential benefits of using a passenger/navigator to improve driver safety for some elders.


While much of the focus on driving cessation has been associated with the negative consequences, Pellerito examines the effects of cessation on former drivers in a metropolitan area and discovered the presence of additional factors. This qualitative study found that, in addition to the negative responses reported by the sample, positive and mixed (both positive and negative) responses were also reported.


Considering the relatively high incidence of dementia, its adverse effects on driving safety, and impact on caregivers, the topic of driving and dementia demands special attention. Croston, Meuser, Berg-Weger, Grant, and Carr discuss driving behaviors and driving retirement from the viewpoint of those with dementia and their caregivers and emphasize the importance of health professionals' involvement in this process.


While the transition from driver to passenger is often thought to be unidirectional, Crabtree, Troyer, and Justiss remind us that, for many people, this period is often fluid and perhaps a temporary process. One individual may drive himself or herself to the grocery store, utilize public transportation to attend church, and use paratransit services on days when dialysis treatment is received.


Finally, Kerschner describes the concept of transitions and provides a framework from which we might view these transitions, a period of losses and new beginnings. This article provides a framework for us to develop interventions to successfully address the transportation needs of the elderly and disabled and to ensure their ability to contribute and participate in our communities.


In summary, the goal of these special issues is to bring together a discussion about the transition from driver to passenger with the hope of initiating a conversation about the development of effective interventions to enable a smooth and successful transition. Given the diversity and quality of the work presented here and in the first special issue, I believe this conversation has started. I sincerely thank the contributing authors not only for their submissions but also for their dedicated work in this area. I acknowledge the contribution of the reviewers for this special issue.


Dennis P. McCarthy, PhD, OTR/L


Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami