Cognitive Functioning Predicts Driver Safety on Road Tests 1 and 2 Years Later

Division of Neuroergonomics, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Impact Factor: 4.57). 10/2011; 60(1):99-105. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03739.x
Source: PubMed


To describe longitudinal changes in mean level and evaluate rank-order stability in potential predictors of driving safety (visual sensory, motor, visual attention, and cognitive functioning) and safety errors during an 18-mile on-road driving test in older adults and to evaluate the relative predictive power of earlier visual sensory, motor, visual attention, and cognitive functioning on future safety errors, controlling for earlier driving capacity.
Three-year longitudinal observational study.
Large teaching hospital in the Midwest.
One hundred eleven neurologically normal older adults (60-89 at baseline).
Safety errors based on video review of a standard 18-mile on-road driving test served as the outcome measure. A comprehensive battery of tests on the predictor side included visual sensory functioning, motor functioning, cognitive functioning, and a measure of useful field of view.
Longitudinal changes in mean levels of safety errors and cognitive functioning were small from year to year. Relative rank-order stability between consecutive assessments was moderate in overall safety errors and moderate to strong in visual attention and cognitive functioning. Although prospective bivariate correlations between safety errors and predictors ranged from fair to moderate, only functioning in the cognitive domain predicted future driver performance 1 and 2 years later in multivariate analyses.
Normative aging-related declines in driver performance as assessed using on-road tests emerge slowly. Even in the presence of conservative controls, such as previous driving ability, age, and visual sensory and motor functioning, cognitive functioning predicted future on-road driving performance 1 and 2 years later.

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Available from: Amy M.J. O'Shea, Dec 30, 2013
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    • "Our results support the hypothesis that increased visual field dependence with age relates to both sensory and cognitive decline. In addition, UFOV assessment is associated with driving cessation, unsafe driving, and crash risk amongst old adults as it implies both visual sensory abilities and higher order attentional skills for old adults (Ball et al. 1993, 2006; Goode et al. 1998; Mathias and Lucas 2009; Owsley et al. 1991, 1998; Wood et al. 2012)—although there is some ambiguity with respect to the UFOV test's validity as a predictor of safe driving (Aksan et al. 2012; Emerson et al. 2012). Our data are in agreement with older studies relating perceptual style and selective attention/visual search in the context of driving performance and crash risk (Guerrier et al. 1999; McKnight and McKnight 1999; Mihal and Barrett 1976). "
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