Driving exposure, patterns and safety critical events for older drivers with and without mild cognitive impairment: Findings from a naturalistic driving study

Ying Ru Feng, Lynn Meuleners, Mark Stevenson, Jane Heyworth, Kevin Murray, Michelle Fraser, Sean Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the study is to compare driving exposure, patterns and factors associated with safety critical events between drivers with MCI and a comparison group without cognitive impairment. Design, setting, participants: Naturalistic driving data using an in-vehicle monitoring device were collected from 36 older drivers with MCI and 35 older drivers without cognitive impairment over a two-week period in Western Australia. Measurements: Naturalistic driving exposure, patterns (eg. night-time trips, peak-hour trips) and safety critical events (harsh acceleration, harsh braking and harsh cornering). Results: Drivers with MCI had a lower number of safety critical events (mean = 7.20, SD = 11.44) compared to drivers without cognitive impairment (mean = 10.89, SD = 23.30) however, this was not statistically significantly. There were also no statistically significant differences between drivers with and without MCI for measures of driving exposure or any of the driving patterns including weekday trips, night-time trips and trips on highways/freeways. The results of the multivariable modelling found only binocular contrast sensitivity was associated with the rate of safety critical events. For every increase of 0.1 log units in contrast sensitivity (better contrast sensitivity) the rate of safety critical events significantly decreased by 30 % (IRR = 0.70, 95 % CI = 0.50−0.98, p = 0.04). Conclusion: Drivers with MCI were found to have similar driving exposure and patterns compared to older drivers without cognitive impairment, however drivers with better contrast sensitivity experienced fewer safety critical events. Future research should consider a longitudinal study design with an extended driving monitoring period and a larger sample with a clinical diagnosis of MCI to assess changes in cognition and its impact on driving.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105965
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Volume151
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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