Neuropsychological predictors of driving errors in older adults

Jeffrey D. Dawson, Ergun Y. Uc, Steven W. Anderson, Amy M. Johnson, Matthew Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To identify neuropsychological factors associated with driving errors in older adults. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Setting: Neuropsychological assessment laboratory and an instrumented vehicle on a 35-mile route on urban and rural roads. Participants: One hundred eleven older adult drivers (aged 65-89; mean age 72.3) and 80 middle-aged drivers (aged 40-64; mean age 57.2). Measurements: Explanatory variables included age, neuropsychological measures (cognitive, visual, and motor), and a composite cognitive score (COGSTAT). The outcome variable was the safety error count, as classified according to video review using a standardized taxonomy. Results: Older drivers committed an average of 35.8 ± 12.8 safety errors per drive, compared with an average of 27.8 ± 9.8 for middle-aged drivers (P<.001). For older drivers, there was an increase of 2.6 errors per drive observed for each 5-year age increase (P=.03). After adjustment for age, education, and sex, COGSTAT was a significant predictor of safety errors in older drivers (P=.005), with an approximately 10% increase in safety errors observed for a 10% decrease in cognitive function. Individual significant predictors of more safety errors in older drivers included poorer scores on the Complex Figure Test - Copy, the Complex Figure Test - Recall, Block Design, Near Visual Acuity, and the Grooved Pegboard task. Conclusion: Driving errors in older adults tend to increase, even in the absence of neurological diagnoses. Age-related decline in cognitive abilities, vision, and motor skills can explain some of this increase. Changes in visuospatial and visuomotor abilities appear to be particularly associated with unsafe driving in old age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1096
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume58
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Safety
Aptitude
Motor Skills
Sex Education
Cognition
Visual Acuity
Observational Studies
Cross-Sectional Studies
Drive

Keywords

  • Cognitive decline
  • Instrumented vehicle
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Safety errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Neuropsychological predictors of driving errors in older adults. / Dawson, Jeffrey D.; Uc, Ergun Y.; Anderson, Steven W.; Johnson, Amy M.; Rizzo, Matthew.

In: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 58, No. 6, 01.01.2010, p. 1090-1096.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dawson, Jeffrey D. ; Uc, Ergun Y. ; Anderson, Steven W. ; Johnson, Amy M. ; Rizzo, Matthew. / Neuropsychological predictors of driving errors in older adults. In: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2010 ; Vol. 58, No. 6. pp. 1090-1096.
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