Older drivers’ opinions of criteria that inform the cars they buy: A focus group study
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Safe driving in older adulthood depends not only on health and driving ability, but also on the driving environment itself, including the type of vehicle. However, little is known about how safety figures into the older driver's vehicle selection criteria and how it ranks among other criteria, such as price and comfort. For this purpose, six focus groups of older male and female drivers (n=33) aged 70-87 were conducted in two Canadian cities to explore vehicle purchasing decisions and the contribution of safety in this decision. Themes emerged from the data in these categories: vehicle features that keep them feeling safe, advanced vehicular technologies, factors that influence their car buying decisions, and resources that inform this decision. Results indicate older drivers have gaps with respect to their knowledge of safety features and do not prioritize safety at the time of vehicle purchase. To maximize the awareness and uptake of safety innovations, older consumers would benefit from a vehicle design rating system that highlights safety as well as other features to help ensure that the vehicle purchased fits their lifestyle and needs.
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