DriveSafe DriveAware Ipad App: an objective measure of fitness to drive for use by health professionals.

This clinical assessment App is now available from Pearson

This clinical assessment App is now available from Pearson

how to purchase DSDA

This App was recommended to me by Professor Anita Bundy, UNSW

Check out the information provided on Pearson’s Website

” Driving is an integral part of most adults’ lives and the question of cognitive fitness to drive in patients with dementia, stroke, brain injury or other neurological conditions is both difficult and emotive.

In the past however, research shows that health professionals have been asked to make recommendations regarding fitness to drive without reliable or ecologically valid assessment tools to guide them, which makes the assessment and delivery of a decision to a patient very difficult.

DriveSafe DriveAware (DSDA) is designed to bridge this gap. DSDA is an objective, evidence-based measure of cognitive fitness to drive that accurately predicts driving ability for older and/or cognitively impaired patients.

DSDA is a cognitive screening tool that measures a driver’s awareness of the driving environment and their own abilities related to driving. The test can be used with any patient whose ability to manage the cognitive aspects of driving may be impaired by a medical condition, injury, or the aging process. DSDA has excellent sensitivity and specificity and performance accurately predicts which patients require an on-road assessment, and which patients are most likely to pass or fail such an assessment.  

This user-friendly iPad app is designed for use by any health professional responsible for making decisions about cognitive fitness-to-drive including occupational therapists, psychologists, general practitioners, neurologists and other health and rehabilitation professionals. The app can also be used to monitor cognitive fitness to drive over time in the case of degenerative conditions. Occupational therapists that specialise in driver assessment and rehabilitation can utilise the touch screen DSDA as part of their off-road assessment of fitness to drive.”


On the road 65Plus – Launched this week on the Centre for Road Safety’s website

65plusmrec                  Whether you drive, ride, walk, use a mobility scooter or catch public transport a new guide, “On the road 65Plus” has information and resources to help keep you independent and safe.

snip RMS

Developed by the Centre for Road Safety, the guide provides useful tips for safer driving and making better choices when using our roads. It features medical advice on how our health and common medical conditions can affect road user abilities. Advice on how to plan ahead for your mobility needs and transition from full-time driving is offered.

The guide also explains the NSW driver licensing system for drivers aged 75 and 85 years or above.

Pick up a copy of “On the road 65Plus” at your local Roads and Maritime registry or Service NSW Centre (available from 5th March). The guide is available online at


More information

A ‘Driving and Dementia Decision Aid’ booklet is available to help assess changes to driving abilities and plan for retirement from driving.

Visit the University of Wollongong website to download the guide. For more information and resources, email

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW in partnership with the National Roads and Motorists’ Association has produced a guide ‘Staying on the move with dementia’ for people, families and carers living with dementia. To download the guide, visit:

Information sourced from: Transport for New South Wales : _____________________________________________________________________

Driving and dementia – a decision aid


The University of Wollongong has published a freely available booklet “Driving and dementia – a decision aid” (v3 2014). The decision tool is available for download as a hard copy and as an online version.

Visit the University of Wollongong website to download the guide. For more information and resources, email

“the aim of this booklet is to assist you in deciding when to stop driving after receiving a diagnosis of dementia . It is hoped that early planning for driving retirement from driving will avoid the need to stop suddenly”, Dr John Carmody, A/Prof Victoria Traynor, Prof Don Iverson and Cathie Andrew (OT).



Austroads : assessing fitness to drive




6.1 Dementia

This section focuses on dementia, being defined for the purposes of this publication, as a progressive deterioration of cognitive

function due to degenerative conditions of the central nervous system……..

Effects of dementia on driving

Dementia may affect driving ability in a number of ways including:

•errors with navigation, including forgetting routes and getting lost in familiar surroundings

 •limited concentration or ‘gaps’ in attention, such as failing to see or respond to ‘stop’ signs

 •errors in judgement, including misjudging the distance between cars and misjudging the speed of other cars

 •confusion when making choices, for example, difficulty choosing between the accelerator or brake pedals in stressful situations

 •poor decision making or problem solving, including failure to give way appropriately at intersections and inappropriate stopping

in traffic

 •poor insight and denial of deficits

 •slowed reaction time, including failure to respond in a timely fashion to instructions from passengers

 •poor hand–eye coordination.


Also see

Carmody, J., Traynor, V. & Iverson, D. C. (2012). Dementia and driving: An approach for general practice. Australian Family Physician, 41 (4), 230-233.

Driving Decisions Resources publically available


About You: Information for People with Dementia: Driving Help Sheet

Alzheimer’s Australia (AA) 2005, About you: Information for people with dementia: Driving help sheet’, no. 8.4, AA, Canberra.



At the Crossroads

Hartford Financial Group and MIT AgeLab 2007, At the Crossroads.



Driving Decisions Workbook

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute 2006, SAFER Driving: The Enhanced Driving Decisions Workbook.



Driving Safely while Ageing Gracefully

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2002, Driving Safely while Aging Gracefully.



Over 55 Rating Scale

TranSafety Inc 2001, Drivers 55 Plus: Self-Rating Form.


Masters Thesis Abstract

Mapping a road to driving retirement with the driver who has a diagnosis of dementia:  Enhancing acceptance of the difficult decisions.


Background: Driving is a complex task demanding cognitive and physical skills that can be compromised by dementia. We know that some people are reluctant to accept decisions imposed upon them about the need to stop driving. This study sought to identify decisional support needs to inform strategies which may enhance acceptance of potential driving retirement for drivers with dementia.

 Method: This is a qualitative study of current drivers over 55 and is one of a very few to include the views of people with dementia. Participants were recruited via public notices, a media release and clinical contacts to undertake a two phase unstructured interview process. Data collection consisted of one-to-one and group interviews. Thematic analysis was applied to generate themes and ‘NVivo9’ (2009) was used to manage the analysis.

 Findings: A total of 15 drivers over 55 years (n=15) participated in 20 unstructured interviews (n=20). The participants were both male and female (40 % and 60% respectively) and included 2 people with dementia (n=2). The key themes identified in the findings were: (i) views of trusted people are important; (ii) on-road experiences are the most convincing; (iii) let’s discuss this before my judgement is compromised; (iv) knowing my alternatives would influence my decision; and (v) informative resources that include self-monitoring tools are useful.

 Conclusion: This study contributes important empirical knowledge informed by consumers and potential consumers regarding decisional support for drivers with dementia facing decisions regarding the time to retire from driving. Further quantitative research is recommended to develop and evaluate the efficacy of decisional support strategies for drivers with dementia who may need to address decisional conflict regarding driving retirement.


Catherine Louise Andrew

March 2013

Masters of Science – Research degree thesis

Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health,

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Science,

University of Wollongong NSW Ausrtalia