Research in Older Drivers & Autonomous Vehicles Leads to Educational Materials in Occupational Therapy

Dr. Sherrilene Classen, professor and chair of the UF Department of Occupational Therapy, is the lead investigator on STRIDE Project D2 titled “Older Driver Experiences with Autonomous Vehicle Technology”. Her co-principal investigator is Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Classen’s team has been researching how older drivers experience autonomous vehicle technology. As a result of this research, two continuing education lectures were developed for inclusion in the Driving Rehabilitation Therapy Certificate program ( offered by the UF Department of Occupational Therapy. The first of its kind offered by a US university, the 21-credit professional certificate is for licensed health care professionals who want to be trained as driving rehabilitation therapists. Therapists learn how to screen, assess and evaluate drivers who are medically-at-risk for driving or who are unfit to drive. Evidence-based interventions help clients learn to use in-vehicle driving assistance technologies in order to stay safe and mobile. The two new lectures focus on autonomous vehicles and automated technologies:

  • Autonomous vehicles and medically at-risk-drivers through the lifespan: Role, function and future directives for the Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS).
  • Vehicle automation technologies and medically at-risk drivers through the lifespan: Role, function and future directives for the DRS.