Self-regulatory Driving Behavior Among the Elderly: Relationships with Abnormal Driving Behaviors and Perceived Abilities

Empirical Studies
By Catherine Gabaude, Jean-Claude Marquié, F. Obriot-Claudel

The study first examined the psychometric properties of a French version of the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire (dbq -50 items; Reason et al., 1990) in a sample of 568 older drivers (55-91 years; M = 71). The predictive validity of the dbq with respect to driving avoidance was then examined, and compared with that of material (11 items) addressing driving-related self-assessed perceptual and cognitive abilities (sight, processing speed and attention) more directly.
From a principal component analysis, three main factors were extracted, which explained 28.5% of total variance. Factors referred to inattention errors (19.7%), serious errors (5.4%) and violations (3.5%). The similarity of results with those of earlier studies and correlations between factorial scores of the dbq and other relevant variables (e.g. age, gender, annual mileage, health status and crash history) support the construct validity of the French version of the dbq. Sequential multiple linear regressions revealed that 8 variables accounted for 49% of the variance in self-imposed driving limitations in the whole sample. By decreasing importance, avoidance was more frequent in drivers with less efficient self-assessed cognitive abilities, older subjects, females, reported smaller annual mileage, no recent crash experience, fewer violations and poorer health. In the older part of the sample (≥ 71 years), five variables explained 56% of the variance with a major contribution of self-assessed cognitive abilities.
The study suggests that perceived abilities, especially self-assessed driving-related processing speed and attentional abilities, play a major role in the decision to avoid difficult driving situations. It can also be concluded that such self-efficacy beliefs are a stronger predictor of avoidance than the dbq, and a more parsimonious predictor since more variance was explained with fewer items.


  • driving behaviour questionnaire
  • older drivers
  • cognitive abilities
  • self-regulation
  • avoidance
  • self-assessment
  • driving errors
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