A request from PhD Student Michelle Haward


I’m wondering if you may be able to help. I used your publication back in 2010/11 for another project and found it very helpful.

I’m currently studying for a PhD and wanting to work with older drivers with a view to keeping them on the roads for as long as safely possible.

I am looking for drivers aged 60+ who would be willing to complete some questionnaires and have a ‘black box’ fitted to their vehicles for a period of around  3-6 months.

They would also be invited to take part in a driving assessment at some point (when depends on which group they are assigned to). Ideally, they’d reside in Suffolk but other areas would be considered.

The boxes are fitted totally free of charge at a place and time which is convenient to them. They don’t damage the vehicles or affect insurance or servicing in any way. They can’t even be seen in the vehicle.

I’m looking to identify patterns in drivers based on age, mileage etc and to see if an assessment and advice changes their driving habits (e.g. gives them more confidence or improves their driving).

All the data would be anonymised and anyone taking part would have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.


The full brief

Part of my role with Suffolk County Council involves working with drivers aged 60+. We are very keen to promote driving for a long as safely possible and have been delivering assessments and workshops for older drivers throughout Suffolk since 2007.

One of the aims of this current research is to gain a better understanding of the types of journey older drivers make, how frequently they use their vehicles etc and the ‘black boxes’ are the most accurate way to do this.

We’d also be looking to gather views on driving through the use of questionnaires. They may be offered training during the study to see if this has any effect on their driving, but not everyone will be offered that as part of the study. All participants would be offered the opportunity to have a free driving assessment and/or attend a free workshop and if they wished to take up the offer as a thank you for taking part afterwards though.

With Suffolk being a rural County, it’s important that our older residents are able to stay independently mobile for as long as safely possible, so the study will be looking at differences with regards to age, gender and mobility. The emphasis is very much on supporting older residents to continue their driving careers for as long as safely possible and seeing whether the driving assessments and training we currently offer are effective in assisting this.

The research is part of a PhD study and has been approved by Cranfield University’s ethics committee. A key component of that is anonymity. Although I would need names, addresses and date of birth for participants, they would be allocated a reference number for the study and personal information would not be shared or used for any other purpose. At the end of the study, the black boxes would be de-activated and all records held in accordance with data protection law. These would not be accessible to anyone else other than myself as the researcher and Cranfield University in the unlikely case they wished to audit the study.

Anyone who is interested can contact me for more details and to receive further information and a consent form (if they would like to take part).

I can be contacted by email: [email protected] or by telephone on: 0345 600 1291 (between 10.00 & 15.00) or 07515 187352


Michelle Haward, MSc

Senior Road Safety Officer & Diversionary Course Manager
Driver Education Centre
Lindbergh Road