Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vision Screening Law For Older Floridians Associated With Lower Fatality Rates In Car Crashes

Date:
November 17, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
A vision screening law targeting Florida drivers age 80 and older appears to be associated with lower death rates from motor vehicle collisions in this age group, despite little evidence of an association between vision and car crashes, according to a new article.

A vision screening law targeting Florida drivers age 80 and older appears to be associated with lower death rates from motor vehicle collisions in this age group, despite little evidence of an association between vision and car crashes, according to a new article.

"Older drivers represent the fastest-growing segment of the driving population," the authors write as background information in the article. "As this segment of the population expands, so too have public safety concerns, given older drivers' increased rate of motor vehicle collision involvement per mile driven. Research has suggested that this increase may be partly attributed to medical, functional and cognitive impairments."

Little evidence links visual acuity to involvement in motor vehicle collisions. However, in January 2004, Florida implemented a law requiring all drivers 80 years and older to pass a vision test before renewing their driver's licenses. Gerald McGwin Jr., M.S., Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau to study rates of motor vehicle collision deaths among all drivers and older drivers in Florida between 2001 and 2006. They also compared these rates to those in Alabama and Georgia, neighboring states that did not change their legal requirements during this time period.

Overall death rates from motor vehicle collisions in Florida increased non-significantly between 2001 and 2006, but showed a linear decrease in drivers age 80 and older. When comparing the period before the law (2001 to 2003) to the period after the law (2004 to 2006), the fatality rate among all drivers increased by 6 percent (from 14.61 per 100,000 persons per year to 14.75 per 100,000) while fatality rates among older drivers decreased by 17 percent (from 16.03 per 100,000 persons per year to 10.76 per 100,000). Death rates among older drivers did not change in Alabama or Georgia during the same time period.

Several potential reasons exist for the decline in Florida, the authors note. "Perhaps the most apparent reason is that the screening law removed visually impairment drivers from the road," the authors write. "However, in reality, the situation is significantly more complex."

About 93 percent of individuals who sought a license renewal were able to obtain one, suggesting that only a small percentage of drivers were removed from the road for failing to meet the vision standards. Another possibility is that the vision screening requirement improved visual function overall, because many of those who do not pass the test on the first try seek vision care and then return with improved vision. Finally, those who believe they have poor vision may have been discouraged from renewing their license at all, voluntarily removing themselves from the road.

"Ultimately, whether the vision screening law is responsible for the observed reduction in fatality rates because of the identification of visually impaired drivers or via another, yet related, mechanism may be inconsequential from a public safety perspective," the authors write. "However, the importance of driving to the well-being of older adults suggests that isolating the true mechanism responsible for the decline is in fact important." Future research identifying this mechanism would allow states to implement laws that accurately target high-risk drivers while allowing low-risk older drivers to retain their mobility.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gerald McGwin, Jr; Scott A. Sarrels; Russell Griffin; Cynthia Owsley; Loring W. Rue, III. The Impact of a Vision Screening Law on Older Driver Fatality Rates. Arch Ophthalmol., 2008;126(11):1544-1547

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Vision Screening Law For Older Floridians Associated With Lower Fatality Rates In Car Crashes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110163803.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, November 17). Vision Screening Law For Older Floridians Associated With Lower Fatality Rates In Car Crashes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110163803.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Vision Screening Law For Older Floridians Associated With Lower Fatality Rates In Car Crashes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110163803.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins