Towards a cognitive assesment of senior drivers' fitness to drive

Michael Hull

The increasing mean age of populations of developed and developing countries, combined with the increasing numbers of drivers entering the older age groups does not allow future elevated crash numbers to be ignored. In many regions, older drivers are required to undertake tests of vision and to provide medical certification of their continued capacity to drive. The literature suggests that such tests are expensive and have little capacity to identify those at higher risk and therefore unjustifiably discriminate against older drivers.

Both to contain expense in ageing societies and to minimise disruption to those still capable of driving safely, a reliable screening tool is required. Such a tool should be capable of administration by sub-professional personnel; it should be quick to complete and require a minimum of instructions and supervision. Thus far, the most promising such test is the Useful Field of View Test, widely reported on by Ball, Owsley and others. But lay people and judicial tribunals may fail to perceive the relevance of such a test to the driving task.

An alternative approach may derive from an adaptation of the Hazard Perception Test, variations of which are currently used in several Australian States to assess novice drivers. This approach uses computer-generated video scenes of traffic situations and requires of subjects a simple binary response. This paper summarises an evaluation such a test on older drivers, with a control group and an experimental group referred for occupational therapist assessment because of official doubts about their ability to drive safely. Analysis demonstrates that the test discriminates between older drivers in these groups. Further development may well provide an acceptable and efficient tool for identifying older drivers whose driving should be curtailed.



Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region

The conference Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region is held i Vilnius, Lithuania. VTI is part of the organisation committé and also one of the speakers.



VTI participated in conference on electric roads

Systems with electrified roads are a relatively new concept and many projects have been launched in recent years. To stimulate the transfer of knowledge and collaboration, the Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads arranged its second...


ADAS&ME is tackling the interaction between people and technology

ADAS&ME is a major EU project focused on automation, the human condition and the human environment. The budget is EUR 9.6 million and VTI is the coordinator.


Users contribute to the development of train simulators

Apart from advanced driving simulators, VTI has developed several variations of train simulators which are used for training, education and research. In recent years, interest has increased drastically among major actors in the railway sector, and VTI has...


VR study to contribute to a better working environment for bus drivers

A study where bus drivers test autonomous driving in a VR environment may contribute to a better working environment with reduced stress on the driver and safer driving.


Non-native plant species spread via transport systems

Researchers at VTI have compiled a report on non-native invasive plant species in Sweden and how they spread via transport systems.


EU-project VIRTUAL: improving road safety with virtual crash tests

Crash tests are used to improve safety on roads. Therefore the EU now funds a research project to develop virtual methods of crash testing. VTI coordinates the project, called VIRTUAL. The project now invites experts interested in Human Body Modeling to join...