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J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 1996 Jul;9(3):136-41.

Effects of normal aging on the performance of motor-vehicle operational skills.

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  • 1UCLA School of Medicine, USA.


Operational skills involved in controlling a motor vehicle were measured in two groups of very healthy elderly drivers and a young control group to test the hypothesis that there are age-related declines in operational performance that may influence driver safety. An actual behind-the-wheel, standardized road test was employed using a motor vehicle equipped with sensors to record speed, braking activity, and lane position, as well as direction and magnitude of front-wheel and eye-movement excursions. The data from these sensors were used as dependent measures of operational performance. Older drivers made fewer steering and eye-movement excursions and drifted across the center line more frequently than the young control group. Younger drivers drove significantly faster and executed more braking applications than did their older counterparts. The motor-vehicle operational performance of older healthy drivers was related to visual-spatial attentional declines and the useful field of vision associated with the normal aging process.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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