Skip 
Navigation Link
Aging & Geriatrics
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Lifestyle Changes Might Prevent or Slow DementiaRevisits After Discharge From Observation Up in ElderlyReport Addresses Patient Refusal of Home Health Care ServicesOlder Age Needn't Be a Barrier to Herniated Disc SurgeryHealth Tip: Managing Arthritis FatigueComprehensive Audiologic Care Feasible in Free Clinic ModelRecreational Activity-Linked Facial Fractures Up in SeniorsSeniors Get Good Results From Herniated Disc SurgeryCentenarians Often Healthier Than Younger Seniors: StudyFido May Be a Fit Senior's Best FriendExcess Alcohol May Speed Muscle Loss in Older WomenFamily Can Improve Timely Detection in Nursing Home CareEven Moderate Drinking May Dull the Aging BrainCan a 70-Year-Old Have the Arteries of a 20-Year-Old?Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly PeopleHealth Tip: Exercise Your Brain Every DayAlzheimer's Deaths Jump 55 Percent: CDCReducing Caloric Intake Appears to Slow Biological AgingSleep Apnea Reporting Low Among Individuals Aged ≥65Chances of Successful CPR Dwindle as Seniors AgeStudy Casts Doubt on Need for Statins in the 'Healthy Old'Dying Patients Often Given Medicines That Won't Help ThemThis Combo Workout May Suit Obese Seniors BestLow-Dose Aspirin No Aid Against Cognitive DeclineMany Seniors Use Cellphones While Driving With ChildrenScientists Uncover Root of Graying, Thinning HairLongevity in the U.S.: Location, Location, LocationDo Your Knees Crackle and Pop?4 in 10 People Will Suffer Arthritic Hands Over LifetimePassive Home Monitoring Yields Health Care SavingsNew Rx for Sleeping Pills Can Up Risk of Hip FractureOptimal Cardiovascular Health in Middle Age Adds Years to LifeAging Substantially Ups Risk for Needing Help With Money, MedsHearing Tests May Miss Common Form of Hearing LossSleeping Pills Boost Danger of Falls, Fractures in Older UsersLoving, Supportive Kids May Help Lower Seniors' Dementia RiskHealthy Heart in Middle Age Delivers Big DividendsOlder Women Show Limited Understanding of OsteoporosisMost Seniors Use Cellphones While Behind the WheelSeniors Often Have Trouble Managing Money, Medicines'Brain Age' May Help Predict When You'll DieDocs May Miss Major Cause of Vision Loss in SeniorsMid-Life Exercise Could Jog Your MemoryExercise Benefits Aging Hearts, Even Those of the ObeseQI Intervention Aids Medication Safety for Elderly in ERSlow Processing Speed Predicts Falls in ElderlyNursing Home Program Offers Alternatives to Antipsychotic DrugsStrength Training Might Help Prevent Seniors' FallsSeniors' Well-Being May Get a Boost From Green SpacesSeniors' Brain Changes Could Make Them Vulnerable to Scams
Questions and AnswersLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Lifespan Development

Most Seniors Use Cellphones While Behind the Wheel

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Apr 28th 2017

new article illustration

FRIDAY, April 28, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When you think of cellphones and driving, you probably picture a chatty teen behind the wheel. But new research suggests that seniors are often guilty of this dangerous practice, too.

And that's true even if they have children in the car, a new survey found.

"Of those senior drivers who have a cellphone, 60 percent of them speak on the phone while behind the wheel. And seniors with a skewed sense of their multitasking abilities are most likely to engage in this behavior," Dr. Linda Hill, of the University of California, San Diego, said in a university news release. Hill is a professor in the School of Medicine's department of family medicine and public health.

For the study, the researchers conducted an anonymous survey of almost 400 adults, aged 65 and older. Hill's team asked the seniors about their driving habits and potentially distracting behaviors. Of the respondents, 82 percent owned a smartphone.

"The survey results found older adults are driving distracted less than their younger counterparts, but are still engaging in this dangerous behavior," Hill said.

Cellphone use aside, some older drivers have health problems that affect their ability to drive safely, such as vision problems, frailty and thinking/memory impairment. Also, some medications can cause side effects that impair driving skills. Older drivers may also have reduced attention and mental-processing speed, the researchers noted.

Using a cellphone while driving increases the risk of a crash fourfold, the study authors said, adding that hands-free and hand-held devices are equally dangerous. This increased risk is the same as driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol content, which is the legal limit for intoxication, according to the study authors. Texting is linked with an eight to 16 times increased risk of a crash.

"There is concern that adding distraction to the reduced skills of some older adults will increase these crash rates even further," Hill said.

But older drivers don't seem to be aware of the raised potential for accidents: 75 percent said they could drive safely while talking on a hands-free device.

The study also found that in the past month, 27 percent of respondents drove with children younger than age 11 in the car. Of those drivers, 42 percent talked on the phone while behind the wheel.

"When adults are driving distracted with children in the car, not only does it put children at risk, but they are also modeling risky behavior," Hill said. "No call is so urgent that it can't wait until the driver is able to pull over to a safe place."

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on distracted driving.