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BMC Ophthalmol. 2018 Feb 7;18(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s12886-018-0686-5.

The Alabama VIP older driver study rationale and design: examining the relationship between vision impairment and driving using naturalistic driving techniques.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, 35294-0009, USA. owsley@uab.edu.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, 35294-0009, USA.
3
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, 35294-0022, USA.
4
Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 3500 Transportation Research Plaza, Blacksburg, VA, 24060, USA.
5
School of Optometry and Vision Science, Queensland University of Technology, Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, VIC, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Older drivers aged ≥70 years old have among the highest rates of motor vehicle collisions (MVC) compared to other age groups. Driving is a highly visual task, and older adults have a high prevalence of vision impairment compared to other ages. Most studies addressing visual risk factors for MVCs by older drivers utilize vehicle accident reports as the primary outcome, an approach with several methodological limitations. Naturalistic driving research methods overcome these challenges and involve installing a high-tech, unobtrusive data acquisition system (DAS) in an older driver's own vehicle. The DAS continuously records multi-channel video of driver and roadway, sensor-based kinematics, GPS location, and presence of nearby objects in front of the vehicle, providing an objective measure of driving exposure. In this naturalistic driving study, the purpose is to examine the relationship between vision and crashes and near-crashes, lane-keeping, turning at intersections, driving performance during secondary tasks demands, and the role of front-seat passengers. An additional aim is to compare results of the on-road driving evaluation by a certified driving rehabilitation specialist to objective indicators of driving performance derived from the naturalistic data.

METHODS:

Drivers ≥70 years old are recruited from ophthalmology clinics and a previous population-based study of older drivers, with the goal of recruiting persons with wide ranging visual function. Target samples size is 195 drivers. At a baseline visit, the DAS is installed in the participant's vehicle and a battery of health and functional assessments are administered to the driver including visual-sensory and visual-cognitive tests. The DAS remains installed in the vehicle for six months while the participant goes about his/her normal driving with no imposed study restrictions. After six months, the driver returns for DAS de-installation, repeat vision testing, and an on-road driving evaluation by a certified driving rehabilitation specialist (CDRS). The data streams recorded by the DAS are uploaded to the data coordinating center for analysis.

DISCUSSION:

The Alabama VIP Older Driver Study is the first naturalistic older driver study specifically focused on the enrollment of drivers with vision impairment in order to study the relationship between visual dysfunction and driver safety and performance.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Driving; Motor vehicle collision; Naturalistic driving; Vision; Vision impairment

PMID:
29415670
PMCID:
PMC5804048
DOI:
10.1186/s12886-018-0686-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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