Fact Sheet Provides Employer Guidance on Older Drivers in the Workplace

Published April 6, 2016

Although older drivers are more likely to adopt safer driving behaviors, adults who are 55 and older have twice the risk of dying in a work-related crash than their younger counterparts, according to a NIOSH fact sheet released March 18. Older drivers are more likely to be injured during a crash and are at a higher risk of dying from those injuries, with motor vehicle crashes accounting for 32 percent of all work-related deaths among workers over 55.

The fact sheet also provides information on age-related physical and mental changes that may affect the driving of older workers. Workers 55 and older are at a higher risk of eye disease, worsening eyesight and peripheral vision, and age-related hearing loss. Their range of motion, flexibility, strength and coordination, memory, and attention span may also be affected with age.

NIOSH recommends that employers set policies prohibiting the operation of a vehicle under the influence and provide workers with general information on the possible effects medications may have on their driving ability. The agency also encourages employers to allow breaks during shift work, time off to ensure workers get enough sleep, and naps of 30 minutes or less if workers become too tired. Other recommendations include promoting awareness of sleep disorders and other illnesses that may affect sleep; assessing workers’ driving ability; planning and managing travel; and requiring the use of seat belts.

Recommendations directed to workers include maintaining good health; getting a thorough eye exam every one to two years; alerting supervisors of any difficulties driving; and utilizing a driving self-assessment tool to evaluate driving.

For more information, view “Older Drivers in the Workplace: How Employers and Workers Can Prevent Crashes.”