Neural Correlates of Older Driver Performance

Older drivers aged 65 and older represent the fastest-growing demographic in the United States. For older drivers, owning and driving a car often provides a sense of maintaining autonomy and independence. However, declines in visual, physical, and cognitive functions related to aging can negatively influence their driving performance. Older drivers face challenges with maneuvers required in complex traffic situations, which may lead to higher crash involvement. Challenging maneuvers include navigating intersections, making left turns against oncoming traffic, merging into traffic (gap acceptance), and making lane changes on limited-access highways. Driving simulators have been used in several studies to assess the performance of older drivers. One common finding in these studies was that driving skills generally decline with age. These studies have also concluded that there are different levels of visual attention skill that can be recognized among older drivers using neuropsychological tests. Neuropsychological tests that assess cognitive abilities can play a key role in screening and evaluating the skills and capabilities of older drivers. Previous studies that use neuropsychological tests have found a correlation between results from tests and errors committed during driving. For example, the ability to process information, memory ability, and visuo-spatial abilities have been found to be predictors of older drivers’ safe behavior. Studies have also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during simulated driving to investigate the aspects of brain activity associated with specific driving tasks (prepared actions, unprepared actions, and planning and monitoring). Even though neuropsychological tests provide valuable information concerning driving performance, there remains a gap in the research when it comes to older drivers, neuropsychological tests, and studies using fMRI. A detailed summary of the literature review is presented in this report. In addition to the literature review, recommended experimental procedures based on previous experiences are documented. The report acts as a foundation for future research that will focus on identifying/developing quick tests that can be used to screen potential dangerous drivers.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory, 1415 Engineering Drive
    Madison, WI  United States  53706

    Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)

    University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Noyce, David A
    • Santiago-Chaparro, Kelvin R
    • Chitturi, Madhav V
    • Bill, Andrea R
    • Nassereddine, Hiba
  • Publication Date: 2017-6


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 56p

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01676955
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Jul 28 2018 5:02PM