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Canadian study of senior drivers goes international

January 13, 2010

Candrive — the Canadian Driving Research Initiative for Vehicular Safety in the Elderly — is very excited to announce its partnership with researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, who join seven centres across Canada for a long-term study of older drivers. A key objective of the study will be to develop a simple, objective screening tool that will assist health-care professionals to identify the characteristics of safe and unsafe older drivers.

Reacting to this announcement, co-principal investigator Dr. Shawn Marshall of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa said, “We are excited to have Monash University as an international site for our study. This will go a long way in heightening awareness of the issues pertaining to senior drivers and give this study increased credibility as we strive to influence policy makers and change clinical practice. We welcome Dr. Charlton and her team.”

Dr Judith Charlton’s research team in Australia has been awarded a AUD$1.8m, five-year Australian Research Council Linkage grant (Managing older driver safe mobility: An international collaboration) to further investigate older driver safe mobility in partnership with Candrive, and with VicRoads, Victoria Police, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC, Victoria), Road Safety Trust New Zealand and Eastern Health in Australia. The Australian project, Ozdrive, will seek volunteer senior drivers in Melbourne, commencing April 2010.

“We are very pleased to be working with Candrive. This grant will allow us to build on the knowledge generated by other studies and will ultimately lead to safer roads for all Australians through the development of evidence-based screening for safe driving, innovative training and other management strategies,” said Dr Charlton.

Candrive is the brainchild of two Ottawa doctors, Dr. Shawn Marshall and Dr. Malcolm Man-Son-Hing, who decided eight years ago, with the support of the Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute, to address the many driving issues that affect seniors. Reacting to what are often unfair portrayals in the media, the doctors strongly reject age-based restrictions on driving, preferring instead to look at how the symptoms of medical conditions can affect a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities.

In 2008 Candrive was awarded a $5.5 million Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant to conduct the five year study of older drivers. Candrive, now headquartered at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, comprises an international network of diverse researchers interested in older driver issues, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, kinesiologists, epidemiologists, and a number of medical specialists in geriatric medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology and geriatric psychiatry.

Candrive has formed partnerships with key seniors’ groups, organizations, and governmental and non-governmental agencies to develop political, legislative and moral support for its research agenda. In addition to the long-term study, funding is also provided to conduct seven subprojects in various Canadian cities, all centred on issues related to older adults and driving, such as the psychosocial, cultural, social, and legal aspects of ensuring safety and quality of life for older drivers. Candrive has already influenced transportation policies in Canada and has the interest of other international researchers and administrators.

Volunteers are still needed for Candrive studies, particularly in the Thunder Bay, Toronto, Victoria, Hamilton and Montreal areas. Interested participants should check our website (www.candrive.ca) for further information and/or call 1-866-233-1133

For further information please contact:

In Canada
Lynn MacLeay
lmacleay@ohri.ca
Tel: (613) 737-8899 x 79742

Dr. Shawn Marshall
smarshall@ottawahospital.on.ca

In Australia
Judith Charlton PhD
Judith.Charlton@muarc.monash.edu.au
Tel: 61 3 99051903