National Older Driver Research and Training Center

Examining issues surrounding older driver assessment, remediation, rehabilitation, and the use of alternatives to the car.

Team Members

NODRTC Faculty

John Eberhard, PhD

Dr. Eberhard is a consultant to UF's National Older Driver Research and Training Center. He has been involved in older person transportation issues for over 35 years. He is retired from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2003) and has remained active in the area of safe mobility for older people. While at NHTSA he chaired the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development working group that produced “Ageing and Transport” in 2001 that addressed the mobility and safety needs of older people in the developed world. He also co-produced “Safe Mobility for a Maturing Society: Challenges and Opportunities” in 2003 which laid out what the United States needed to do to prepare our transportation systems for the baby boom generation. Currently he is on the Howard County Commission on Aging where he chairs the transportation committee and is developing a transportation and mobility guide for seniors in Howard County. Nationally, he is working with the American Society on Aging and the Transportation Research Board where he edits their newsletter on “Safe Mobility for Older Persons.” He is the co-chair for the transportation area for the 2006 International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence.

Lily Elefteriadou, PhD

Dr. Elefteriadou is the Director of the Transportation Research Center (TRC), and an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Florida. Her research focus is traffic operations, traffic flow theory and simulation, and she has approximately 15 years of experience as a transportation researcher and practitioner. Dr. Elefteriadou has served as the principal investigator for several federal and state projects and authored or co-authored more than sixty publications and reports related to traffic operational quality and highway design. She serves as the Secretary of the TRB's Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee, and has chaired several of its subcommittees (simulation, ramps/weaving, paper review, and two-lane highways).

Michael Marsiske, PhD

Dr. Marsiske's work is in the area of cognitive aging, with a particular focus on how thinking, remembering and problem-solving changes in later life might impact everyday functioning and independence. Marsiske's earlier work has examined areas like medication use, financial management, nutrition and transportation use are affected by age-related differences and changes in mental functioning. Marsiske is a principal investigator on a large multi-site clinical trial aging study, which includes an examination of “Useful Field of View” (UFOV), a measure of speeded visual attention. UFOV has been shown, to be a strong predictor of behind-the-wheel driving performance. New work will examine alternative home-based approaches to improving speeded visual attention, including certain kinds of video games, and to investigate whether such approaches yield measureable improvements in driving outcomes. The goal is to find strategies that older adults can use to keep their basic driving-related mental skills sharp.

Orit Shechtman, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Shechtman is an Associate Professor at the Department of Occupational Therapy. Her research is in the areas of maximal effort, sincerity of effort, musculoskeletal disorders, and reliability and validity of grip strength measurement instruments. Dr. Shechtman is also involved in the older driver research projects. She is a member of the National Older Driver Research and Training Center (NODRTC) Assessment Group and was the co-leader of Panel A – Assessment and Screening Protocols in the NODRTC International Consensus Conference in 2003.She is currently the project leader (PI William Mann) of the Older Driver Infrastructure Simulator Research Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Past Director

William C. Mann, OTR/L, PhD

Dr. Mann is Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy and Director of the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program at the University of Florida (UF). Dr. Mann also directs the National Older Driver Research and Training Center. His current work focuses on older driver assessment and rehabilitation. Dr. Mann has authored more than 100 article and book chapters on aging and independence in the past 15 years, authored three books including two that will be published in 2005, produced a video on compensatory strategies for older drivers and passengers, and served as founder and co-editor of the journal Technology and Disability from 1990 - 2000. His work over the past 15 years has focused on approaches to promoting independence in ADLs and IADLs, including driving, for persons with disabilities.

Past Co-Director

Dennis P. McCarthy, OTR/L, PhD

Since joining the University of Florida's Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program in January 2002, Dennis' studies have focused on issues involving older drivers. He is currently a member of the AOTA Older Driver Advisory Council. He served on the Expert Panels of the Canadian Driving Research Initiative for Vehicular Safety in the Elderly, the International Older Driver Consensus Conference, and the AOTA's Older Driver's Consensus Conference. He also served as a reviewer for the American Medical Association's Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers.

Past NODRTC Faculty

Burton Stephens

Burton Stephens is a transportation and human factors consultant to the National Older Driver Research and Training Center (NODRTC). He was a co-founder of the UF Seniors' Institute for Transportation and Communications. During most of his career, he was a researcher and program manager at the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC and subsequently served as Director of the International Clearinghouse for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. He has been an instructor in the Civil Engineering Departments at the Universities of Maryland and Florida.

Past NODRTC Research Assistants

Kezia Awadzi was in the PhD Program in Health Services Research, Management, and Policy, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida (UF), and was a research assistant for the Public Health Model to Promote Safe Elderly Driving project. She holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication. Her dissertation research on older driver safety was completed in 2007.

Patricia da Cunha Belchior is an occupational therapist and was a doctoral student in the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program at the University of Florida. She is studying the use of cognitive training to improve older drivers performance. Her dissertation research was completed in 2008.

Sarah Cook was a doctoral student in Clinical Neuropsychology in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida. She was studying use of neuropsychology with older people and predictors of poor driving performance. Her dissertation research was completed in 2006.

Ethan Davis was a Masters student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. His area of interest is dynamic systems and controls. Ethan joined the NODRTC team in May, 2004 to instrument a driving evaluation vehicle with transducers and a data acquisition system. These transducers are capable of measuring forward and lateral acceleration, yaw, steering wheel position, braking and turn signal activation, and vehicle position via GPS. This system allows researchers to analyze objective kinematic measures, which can be used to reinforce the subjective measures from a driving evaluator. His thesis research was completed in 2005.

Cristina Posse is an occupational therapist and was a doctoral student and research assistant in the Rehabilitation Science Program at UF. Her area of study focuses on older adults and driving rehabilitation. Her dissertation research was completed in 2008.