Model Driver Screening and Evaluation Program
Volume II: Maryland Pilot Older Driver Study


Chapter 1: 
Maryland Research Consortium

The Maryland Pilot Older Driver Study was conceived and carried out within an infrastructure termed the "Maryland Research Consortium" (MRC). Under the leadership of Dr. Robert Raleigh, Chief of the Maryland Medical Advisory Board (MAB) and Director of the Office of Driver Safety Research at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), the MRC was formed in 1996 to coordinate efforts to more fairly and accurately identify high-risk older individuals, and to help those who need it to improve their skills, change their habits, or find good alternatives to driving. MRC members comprise a multidisciplinary team representing over 25 State and National organizations, including all agencies of Government concerned with transportation, public health, and aging, plus private sector partners.

Through quarterly, full-day meetings, the MRC has provided a forum for a diverse set of stakeholders and research partners both within and outside of the State of Maryland to discuss details of the Pilot Study, and to consider broader, policy issues relating to safe transportation for older persons. This collaboration among Consortium members was crucial for the conduct of this research; it also has defined a working model, or template, for launching a driver screening and evaluation program that could be of value in other States as well.

Research Mission

During the initial meetings of the MRC a mission statement was developed and a vision was articulated, through consensus, that summarized the shared goals of Consortium members. Four performance areas also were identified through which efforts to achieve the MRC mission could be organized and directed. These are shown in table 1.

Table 1. 
Organizing Principles for the Maryland Research Consortium for Older Drivers

Mission Statement:

To create and offer a program of safe mobility for Maryland Older Drivers.

Vision Statement:

To become the National model for safe mobility for life.

Key Performance Areas and Goals:

  1. Identification and Assessment: To identify and assess the ability of older people to remain safely mobile.
  2. 2. Remediation/Counseling: To remediate and/or counsel those with functional limitations so that they remain safely mobile, and identify providers of these services.
  3. Mobility Options: To inventory and assess existing and potential mobility options, to develop enhanced and new options as needed, and identify how to access these services.
  4. Public Information & Education: To educate our citizens and care givers on the public health issues of functional decline and driving safety, and to provide information on how older people may remain safely mobile.

Consortium members' activities were structured into four working groups, one for each "key performance area." Within each group, members developed more a more detailed set of interim objectives and an action plan to meet them. These were working documents that evolved during the course of the Pilot Study; they are presented in appendix A (tables 10, 11, 12, and 13) as initially conceived. The working groups made it possible for Consortium members whose interests were more narrowly focused--though still consistent with the overall mission of the MRC--to identify attainable goals and to identify the people and resources within their own organizations that could be applied to help reach them. A leader within each working group maintained communications among group members and was the primary point of contact with other groups and with the Consortium chair. The progress of the various working groups was reviewed and their action plans were periodically revisited and revised as necessary during regularly scheduled meetings of the Consortium.

Partners and Partnerships

Project staff were directly involved with the Consortium from its inception and relied on the cooperation of its members through performance of all research activities described in this report. Specifically, plans to carry out screening and counseling activities with older drivers in (1) Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) field offices; (2) a residential community for older adults; and (3) senior centers operated by the Area Agency on Aging were developed in interim meetings between project staff, NHTSA, and appropriate MRC members.

To a varying extent, the involvement of the Consortium members listed below extended beyond project design through all phases of driver recruitment, data collection and analysis, and the development of guidelines for program implementation beyond the Pilot Study.