The Effects of Medical Conditions on Driving Performance

This project investigated the effect of selected medical conditions on the exposure and performance of older drivers. A review of recent literature, followed by a panel meeting with driving safety experts, prioritized four medical conditions for further study: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Parkinson’s disease, and peripheral neuropathy. Driving exposure and performance analyses were carried out for four samples of drivers 60 and older with the specified medical conditions and healthy, age-matched controls: a primary sample (n= 27) and a larger augmented sample (n = 58) of drivers recruited at Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville, SC, a set of older drivers from the SHRP2 naturalistic driving study (n = 203), and a smaller subset of older SHRP2 drivers who traversed specific freeway ramps and acceleration lanes in the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, area (n = 36). Participants in the primary and augmented samples underwent a clinical (physical and cognitive) assessment and an on-road driving evaluation by a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS). For the most part, the older drivers classified in the aforementioned groups based on medical diagnosis were not functionally different. Planned analyses revealed no significant group differences for driving exposure among the primary and augmented samples. For the SHRP2 broad sample analysis, the exposure of older drivers with (self-reported) medical conditions was significantly reduced on a number of measures. Performance between the groups with and without medical conditions was equivalent in virtually all respects based on CDRS scores for the primary and augmented samples and on vehicle kinematic data and crash and near-crash events for the SHRP2 samples. A panel discussion at the project’s conclusion sought input from professionals at continuing care retirement communities on identifying residents who are at-risk for driving and how to overcome the organizational and personal barriers to addressing this issue when residents experience diminished driving performance.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 149p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01666690
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT HS 812 439
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH2209D00135, Task Order No. 04
  • Created Date: Mar 28 2018 9:02AM