Driving With Distraction in Parkinson Disease

This article reports on a study undertaken to assess the effects of auditory–verbal distraction on driving performance in people with Parkinson disease (PD). The authors tested licensed, currently active drivers with mild-to-moderate PD (n = 71) and elderly controls with no neurologic disease (n = 147) on a battery of cognitive, visual, and motor tests. While they drove on a four-lane interstate freeway in an instrumented vehicle, the authors determined at-fault safety errors and vehicle control measures during a distracter task (Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task [PASAT]) and on an uneventful baseline segment. The results showed that drivers with PD committed more errors during both baseline and distraction, and drove slower with higher speed variability during distraction. Although the average effect of distraction on driving performance compared with baseline was not different between the groups, the drivers with PD showed a more heterogeneous response to distraction: the error count increased in 28.2% of drivers with PD (vs 15.8% in controls), decreased in 16.9% (vs 3.4%), and remained stable in 54.9% (vs 80.8%). The odds of increase in safety errors due to distraction was higher in the PD group even after adjusting for baseline errors, level of engagement in PASAT, sex, and education. Other factors that predicted worsening of driving performance due to distraction within the PD group included: decreased performance on tests of cognitive flexibility, verbal memory, postural control, and increased daytime sleepiness. The authors conclude that the overall impact of an auditory–verbal distracter task on driving performance was not significantly different between Parkinson disease (PD) and control groups.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Uc MD, Ergun Y
    • Rizzo, Matthew
    • Anderson, Steven W
    • Sparks, J D
    • Rodnitzky, R L
    • Dawson, Jeffrey D
  • Publication Date: 2006


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 1774-1780
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01050107
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2007 4:13PM