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Psychol Aging. 2012 Sep;27(3):550-9. doi: 10.1037/a0026359. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Predictors of driving outcomes in advancing age.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


This study aimed to develop predictive models for real-life driving outcomes in older drivers. Demographics, driving history, on-road driving errors, and performance on visual, motor, and neuropsychological test scores at baseline were assessed in 100 older drivers (ages 65-89 years [72.7]). These variables were used to predict time to driving cessation, first moving violation, or crash. Using Cox proportional hazards regression models, significant individual predictors for driving cessation were greater age and poorer scores on Near Visual Acuity, Contrast Sensitivity, Useful Field of View, Judgment of Line Orientation, Trail Making Test-Part A, Benton Visual Retention Test, Grooved Pegboard, and a composite index of overall cognitive ability. Greater weekly mileage, higher education, and "serious" on-road errors predicted moving violations. Poorer scores from Trail Making Test-Part B or Trail Making Test (B-A) and serious on-road errors predicted crashes. Multivariate models using "off-road" predictors revealed (a) age and Contrast Sensitivity as best predictors for driving cessation; (b) education, weekly mileage, and Auditory Verbal Learning Task-Recall for moving violations; and (c) education, number of crashes over the past year, Auditory Verbal Learning Task-Recall, and Trail Making Test (B-A) for crashes. Diminished visual, motor, and cognitive abilities in older drivers can be easily and noninvasively monitored with standardized off-road tests, and performances on these measures predict involvement in motor vehicle crashes and driving cessation, even in the absence of a neurological disorder.

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