Driving Change

The overall aim of this research is to develop an understanding about driving retirement for people over the age of 75. We know who ‘ceases’ driving but evidence is missing about how to best support older people to plan their driving retirement.

In Australia, like many countries with an aging population, it is expected that the number of drivers aged 65 years and over will increase dramatically in coming years. Although age itself is not a reason to stop driving, physical and cognitive changes typically occur as we age placing a higher risk of injury or death if involved in a vehicle accident.

It is important driving is maintained as long as safe to do so, as driving provides independence, a sense of identity and quality of life. However as medical issues arise, there is often uncertainty as to the timing of driving retirement with future plans for life without a car only occurring when a ‘red flag’ appears.

Interviews with health professionals and adult drivers aged 65 years, suggests the need to initiate conversations about living without a car throughout the life course to emotionally prepare and plan for unexpected changes. A range of health professionals have the opportunity in a clinical setting to guide decisions in a timely manner. An individualised decisional support resource may assist to facilitate these discussions and enable regular reflection of driving during the life course. 

The team 

Prof Victoria Traynor (SMAH) is from the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health and is the program lead for multi-disciplinary postgraduate studies in aged and dementia care.

Nadine Veerhuis (SMAH) is a research assistant in the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health and will undertake the majority of the data collection and analysis.

S/Prof Melanie Randle (BAL) is a Professor of Marketing within the School of Management and Marketing, in the Faculty of Business and Law. She will contribute to the research design, specifically drawing on the social marketing strategies.

Prof Gordon Waitt (ASSH), and Dr Theresa Harada (ASSH) from the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, will use innovative qualitative methods, including observing commuting in cars and on public transport, using videos and field-notes to inform the research design.

Prof Trish Mundy (BAL) and Karina Murray (BAL) are from the Faculty of Business and Law, and will use their networks to access local and district courts across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Western Sydney to undertake observations of driving decisions and interview magistrates.

Jo Stirling (ASSH) from School of the Arts, English and Media will develop strategic marketing messages as part of the campaign.


This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing .  Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals