Project: Assessing the ability of elderly to drive a motor vehicle

BACKGROUND_x000D_Market demand:_x000D_Safe participation in road traffic demands certain skills and capabilities some of which can decline with age. Facing an increasing number of elderly drivers, some countries like Switzerland therefore request a regular check of the ability to drive for drivers aged 70+. Other countries like Sweden discuss such assessment schemes. To facilitate such screening of elderly drivers, an efficient and scientifically validated method and service is needed. _x000D__x000D_Technical challenge:_x000D_To find a suitable scheme to assess the ability to drive in elderly is a challenge. Such an assessment should be scientifically sound, relevant with respect to driving, objective, efficient and inexpensive. The examinations performed today - particularly in Switzerland - are limited in several respects and do not meet these criteria sufficiently well. Therefore a new device-based method was developed and first studies suggest that this method can be used successfully. This new assessment scheme includes analysis of saccadic eye movements by which the performance of different brain regions that are relevant for driving are tested. Own previous research projects have shown this relevance_x000D_As part of this project these saccadic eye tests will be validated against visual attention performance, naturalistic driving observations and driving in critical situations as simulated by driving in a vehicle simulator. The better the validation of the test procedure the more reliable it is and hence the quality of the assessment is improved._x000D__x000D_OBJECTIVES_x000D_The project DRIVESS aims at validation of a new assessment scheme to examine the fitness to drive in elderly. This will be achieved in the following steps:_x000D_- comparison of two test procedures: the performance of the saccadic eye movements and visual attention performance_x000D_- validation of both tests against naturalistic driving_x000D_- investigation of the correlation of both tests with performance of elderly drivers in critical situations in a driving simulator_x000D__x000D_APPROACH_x000D_Volunteer studies will be conducted under various conditions. The volunteers will perform the saccadic eye test and the visual attention performance test, the results will be compared. Furthermore volunteers will undergo the tests and in addition will be subjected to either a practical driving exam in real traffic or in a driving simulator. The correlation between the test results and the driving performance will be analysed._x000D__x000D_EXPECTED IMPACT_x000D_DRIVESS will generate further knowledge in an important area of traffic safety. A significant scientific gain is to be expected due to the involvement of various tests and driving exercises. The outcome will add to current knowledge and thus contribute to fill the gap between pure medical diagnosis in the form of neurological/neuro-psychological examinations and practical driving experience. _x000D_Validating the new scheme to assess the ability to drive in elderly as described above will significantly strengthen the new method which is important to be able to introduce it to the market. The device-based and thus objective method is regarded as a major advantage over the assessment as currently performed. Furthermore it offers the possibility of effectively screening a large number of drivers. Consequently a successful introduction of a new service featuring this assessment scheme is expected. Providing the different stakeholders in that area with a scientifically sound and efficient method to check the fitness to drive addresses a real market demand._x000D_

Acronym DRIVESS (Reference Number: 6858)
Duration 01/04/2012 - 30/11/2013
Project Topic Some countries demand that the physical and mental ability of elderly drivers is regularly checked. DRIVESS aims at developing an assessment procedure, i.e. a medical service, that is relevant in this context and that makes use of objective measures such as saccadic eye movements.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO achievements of the project for TUB are _x000D_- the development of a procedure to observe and rate the ability to drive in driving studies on the road and in the driving simulator,_x000D_- data base of driving studies of a sample with different performance levels
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 AGU Zürich (Arbeitsgruppe für Unfallmechanik) Coordinator Switzerland
4 ETH Zurich, Ergonomics of Information Media, Chair of Technology and Innovation Management Partner Switzerland
4 Technische Universität Berlin - Kraftfahrzeuge Partner Germany
4 Statens väg -och transportforskningsinstitut Partner Sweden