Driving with advanced vehicle technology: A qualitative investigation of older drivers’ perceptions and motivations for use
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For older drivers, in-vehicle technology offers much potential to improve safety and increase longevity of retaining both licensure and community mobility. However, little is known about how older drivers perceive Advanced Vehicle Technologies (AVTs) based on everyday driving experience. Interviews with 35 older drivers (20 men; 15 women) aged 60-85 who owned a vehicle with at least two AVTs (e.g., back-up camera, lane departure warning) were conducted to explore the meanings that older drivers assigned to AVTs and motivations for use, including whether age-related functional changes were part of their automobile purchase decision. Findings indicate that age-related changes are not a primary reason for why older adults seek out AVTs, but they still perceived and experienced AVTs to counteract age-related changes in driving performance based upon changes they felt occurring within the body. Older drivers also described AVTs as generating a sense of comfort behind-the-wheel. Comfort with this technology was equated with convenience, ease of use, and increased feelings of safety. Discussion emphasizes how assessments of the quality of driving performance and value of technology occur in relation to an aging body.
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