Looking for an Optimal Pedal Layout to Improve the Driving Performance of Patients with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Diabetes can undermine people's ability to drive safely, but most previous studies have focused on its deterioration of the central nervous system. This study sought to investigate how diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a common complication of diabetes characterized by reduced sensitivity of the limbs, can influence people's braking behavior and other safety-related measures of driving. In addition, it also tested how such a deteriorating effect can be reduced by using certain pedal layout designs.In total, 29 healthy drivers and 31 drivers of type 2 diabetes matched in demographic variables were invited to participate in this study. The participants with type 2 diabetes (they are from here on out referred to as “patients") were then split into two subgroups based on the severity of DPN using the median of the Semmes–Weinstein monofilaments Examination (SWME) scores. All three groups of participants finished a series of vehicle-pedestrian conflict tasks in a driving simulator using nine different types of pedal layouts. These layouts varied in the lateral distance between the accelerator and the brake (45 mm, 60 mm, and 75 mm) and the width of brake pedals (50 mm, 70 mm, 90 mm). The results showed that patients with serious DPN had longer brake reaction times (BRT) and shorter minimum distance-to-collision (DTC) as compared to the other two groups. However, the effects of such a disadvantage varied across different pedal layouts. When the accelerator-brake distance was 45 mm, patients with serious DPN showed no compromised driving performance as compared to other two groups. In conclusion, the authors found the DPN could undermine driving performance of participants with type 2 diabetes, and a closer accelerator-brake lateral distance (45 mm) may be an optimal choice for them to counteract such a negative influence.


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  • Accession Number: 01711774
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 21 2019 3:07PM