Predictive value of visual attention mechanisms for driving ability / by Marie J. Parkkari.
Parkkari, Marie Johanna
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The increasing population of older adults and their greater risk of involvement in collisions has prompted research into various aspects of driving behaviour. Tests of visual attention have shown promise for predicting safe driving and collision involvement. The present study examined visual attention tests including UFOV, IOR, and the newer Attention Network Test (ANT) to predict driving ability in younger and older adults. Driving ability was evaluated with a road test on a driving simulator. Using a variety of statistical techniques it is shown that performance on a driving simulator can be predicted by visual attention tests however the influence of age is an important factor in performance. The most consistent predictor of driving performance was the ANT and was had high sensitivity and specificity for classifying drivers as pass or fail. Driving simulator adaptation syndrome showed to be a problem in the older adults and potential solutions are discussed. One clinical implication of this study is the potential use of visual attention tests as valuable screening tool to distinguish drivers that are experiencing driving difficulties. In addition, previous research on UFOV indicates that training could influence driving ability and future research should evaluate if ANT training can have similar benefits to driving performance.