Brenda Vrkljan

Phone: 905-525-9140 ext: 27817
Fax: 905-521-0069
Office: IAHS Rm. 450


Dr. Vrkljan is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science.  While working as an occupational therapist at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance in Chatham, Ontario, Dr. Vrkljan learned just how important driving an automobile was to her patients, particularly her older clients.  The lack of research evidence to address the issue of driving for older Canadians propelled her to completed her doctorate in Rehabilitation Science.

Dr. Vrkljan is the lead investigator of the McMaster-Candrive team, a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)-funded initiative.  Her passion for promoting safe and functional mobility across the lifespan is the theme that “drives” her research.  The Candrive longitudinal study involves six other Canadian centres as well as a site in Melbourne, Australia.  She is also co-principal investigator of another project involving the development of an in-vehicle camera system for tracking the actual driving performance of older drivers, an examination of premature infants and car seat safety (Auto21 NCE) and is co-investigator on the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging ( The principles of ageing-in-place and universal design inform her current and future program of research.

Research Expertise

Dr. Vrkljan's area of research is in driver rehabilitation and community mobility across the lifespan as well as technology use and participation in older adulthood.

Graduate Students

Dr. Vrkljan is currently accepting graduate students.  Interested students should send a CV and research interests to

Lab/Research Institute

AUTO21 – Network for the Centres for Excellence.

Canadian Driving Research Initiative for Vehicular Safety in the Elderly (Candrive).

Recent Publications

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Journal Articles

Mueller A, Sangrar R, Vrkljan B. (in press) Rearview camera system use among older drivers: A naturalistic observation study. Transportation Research Part F: Psychology and Behaviour. 2017.

Koppel S, Charlton JL, Richter N, Di Stefano M, MacDonald W, Darzins P, … Vrkljan B, et al. Are older drivers’ on-road driving error rates related to functional performance and/or self-reported driving experiences? Accid Anal Prev. 2017;103:1-9.

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. (2017). National blueprint for injury prevention in drivers with arthritis. Ottawa, ON: CAOT. Retrieved from

Gish JA, Grenier A, Vrkljan B, Van Miltenburg B. Older people driving a high-tech automobile: emergent driving routines and new relationships with driving. Canadian Journal of Communication. 2017;42(2):235-52.

Cameron DH, Zucchero Sarracini C, Rozmovits L, Naglie G, Herrmann N, Molnar F, … Vrkljan B, et al. Development of a decision-making tool for reporting drivers with mild dementia and mild cognitive impairment to transportation administrators. Int Psychogeriatr. 2017. doi: 10.1017/S1041610217000242 [epub ahead of print].

Vrkljan B & Dal Bello-Haas V. Sailing towards new horizons: reflecting on our past and (re)-shaping older adult rehabilitation science of the future. Phys Occup Ther Geriatr. 2017;35(1):1-2.

Cammarata M, Mueller AS, Harris JE, Vrkljan B. The role of the occupational therapist in driver rehabilitation after stroke. Phys Occup Ther Geriatr. 2017;35(1):20-33.

Rapoport M, Chee J, Plonka S, Ayotte D, O’Neill D, Finestone H, … Vrkljan B, et al. The risk of Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) and traffic violations associated with stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). PROSPERO 2016:CRD42016054074. Available from

Smith GA, Porter MM, Cull AW, Mazer BL, Myers AM, Naglie G, … Vrkljan B, et al. Seasonal and weather effects on older drivers’ trip distances. Can J Aging.2016;35(S1):59-68.

Gish J, Vrkljan B, Grenier A, Van Miltenburg B. Driving with advanced vehicle technology: a qualitative investigation of older drivers’ perceptions and motivations for use. Accid Anal Prev. 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2016.06.027 [epub ahead of print].

Gish JA & Vrkljan B. Aging embodiment and the somatic work of getting into and out of a car. Journal of Aging Studies. 2016;36(1):33-46.

Kajaks T, Vrkljan B, MacDermid J, Godwin A. Using simulation to better understand the effects of aging on driver visibility. Canadian Journal on Aging. 2016;35(S1):110-6.

Gagnon S, Marshall S, Kadulina Y, Stinchcombe A, Bedard M, Gelinas I, … Vrkljan B, et al. CIHR Candrive cohort comparison with Canadian household population holding valid driver’s licenses. Can J Aging. 2016;35(S1):99-109.

Vrkljan B, Crizzle A, Villeneuve S, Porter M, Koppel S, Mazer B, et al. Do demographics and functional abilities influence vehicle type driven by older Canadians? Can J Aging. 2016;35(S1):92-8.

Rapoport M, Sukhawathanakul P, Naglie G, Tuokko H, Myers A, Crizzle A, … Vrkljan B, et al. Cognitive performance, driving behaviour, and attitudes over time in older adults. Can J Aging. 2016;35(S1):81-91.

Mazer B, Laliberte M, Hunt M, Lemoignan J, Gelinas I, Vrkljan B, et al. Ethics of clinical decision-making for older drivers: reporting health-related driving risk. Can J Aging.2016;35(S1):69-80.

Tuokko H, Sukhawathanakul P, Walzak L, Jouk A, Myers A, Marshall S, … Vrkljan B, et al. Attitudes: mediators of the relation between health and driving in older adults. Can J Aging.2016;35(S1):44-58.

Jouk A, Sukhawathanakul P, Tuokko H, Myers A, Naglie G, Vrkljan BH, et al. Psychosocial constructs as possible moderators of self-reported driving restrictions: a longitudinal analysis of the Candrive II data. Can J Aging.2016;35(S1):32-43.

Koppel S, Charlton JL, Langford J, Di Stefano M, MacDonald W, Vlahodimitrakou Z, … Vrkljan B, et al. Driving task: how older drivers’ on-road driving performance relates to abilities, perceptions, and restrictions. Can J Aging. 2016;35(S1):15-31.

General Information

Mailing Address:

School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7


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