“I don’t trust it, so I don’t read it”: How do older Australians navigate and search for information about their health and driving?

Publication Name

Traffic Injury Prevention


Objectives: Driving is pivotal to successful aging, yet older people may need to adapt their driving to changes associated with aging or transition to driving retirement at some stage. However, most older people are reluctant to discuss or plan for changes to their future mobility. This study describes formative research to inform a social marketing campaign to promote the “DRIVING AND STAYING INDEPENDENT” resource assisting older drivers to make informed decisions about timely changes to their driving. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 drivers aged between 67 and 84 years living in the state of NSW, Australia. A discussion guide based on social marketing principles was used to explore the perspectives and experiences of older drivers seeking health and driving information. Thematic analysis was conducted on the interview data. Results: Succinct, clear messages with a clear call to action were identified as essential features of social marketing campaigns targeting older drivers. Realistic portrayals of older people in marketing material are important in engaging the audience. Older drivers preferred positive messages that emphasize the relevance of the product to them. Trusted and reputable sources were of utmost importance when seeking health and driving information. Traditional channels such as TV and radio remain the dominant media consumed by the older participants, however, digital resources are being used increasingly. Conclusions: This study provides important insights for an evidence-based social marketing campaign promoting the “DRIVING AND STAYING INDEPENDENT” resource to older drivers. The findings add to the limited literature on campaigns targeting older adults and may prove valuable for promoting other issues relevant to older adults. Campaigns targeting older drivers should consider selecting clear messages, demonstrating relevance to the audience, using trustworthy sources and selecting channels used by older adults.

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