Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Standardized road test results differ from older adults' natural driving

Date:
December 5, 2012
Source:
Lifespan
Summary:
If you're thinking that little old lady driving 35 miles per hour in the passing lane shouldn't be behind the wheel, you may be right. Studies have shown that our driving abilities decline with age, and for those with cognitive issues such as dementia, it can be even worse. However, researchers also found differences between the results of standardized road tests and older adults' natural driving abilities.

If you're thinking that little old lady driving 35 miles per hour in the passing lane shouldn't be behind the wheel, you may be right. Studies at Rhode Island Hospital, and elsewhere, have shown that our driving abilities decline with age, and for those with cognitive issues such as dementia, it can be even worse.

Related Articles


A standardized road test -- much like the one teenagers take to receive their learner's permit and driver's license -- is often used to measure an individual's performance, including those of older adults. But researchers at the Rhode Island Hospital's Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center went a step further, installing cameras in the personal vehicles of test subjects for two weeks, and then comparing their performance to the standardized test. The study is published in the November 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"Many older people don't like to drive far from their homes, they like to stay in their comfort zone," said lead author Jennifer Davis, Ph.D., of the department of psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital. "They don't drive many miles, and they often avoid driving at night. Taking them out of that comfort zone and placing them in an environment of formal test-taking -- one which carries with it potentially life-altering consequences (loss of their driver's license) -- may lead to significant anxiety, which in itself could impair their driving abilities."

Davis and her colleagues worked with an independent driving instructor who completed the standardized tests with 103 older adults, some healthy and some with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers then observed the drivers in their natural driving state -- in their own vehicles going about their daily routines. The driving instructor compared the videos to each participant's test results and found that the majority of the drivers fared better when driving their own vehicles.

Not surprisingly, the individuals with cognitive impairment had more errors on both the road test and naturalistic driving compared to cognitively healthy older adults. However, the cognitively impaired participants had a greater number of more severe errors on the standardized test than in their natural driving, suggesting that the standardized test may be more cognitively demanding than natural driving.

"It's natural to worry about older adults behind the wheel, even more so if they appear to have memory or cognitive issues, or have been formally diagnosed as such," Davis said. "But many of the people in our study drove safely.

"Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease shouldn't result in an automatic revocation of an individual's driver's license," she said. "Rather, it should emphasize the importance of monitoring an older person's driving, so that he or she can safely maintain their mobility and independence for as long as possible."

Researchers note that this is the first study to compare standardized driving tests with natural driving, and requires further study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lifespan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer D. Davis, George D. Papandonatos, Lindsay A. Miller, Scott D. Hewitt, Elena K. Festa, William C. Heindel, Brian R. Ott. Road Test and Naturalistic Driving Performance in Healthy and Cognitively Impaired Older Adults: Does Environment Matter? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04206.x

Cite This Page:

Lifespan. "Standardized road test results differ from older adults' natural driving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205113524.htm>.
Lifespan. (2012, December 5). Standardized road test results differ from older adults' natural driving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205113524.htm
Lifespan. "Standardized road test results differ from older adults' natural driving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205113524.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins