For a normal individual, driving is the most complex and dangerous activity that he/she will participate in on a daily basis. Accident statistics show that drivers above the age of 65 are involved in more accidents than any other group except novice drivers. Furthermore the trend gets worse as accident rates double then triple with each successive 10 year increase above the age of 65. At risk is not only the driver and their passengers, but society at large, as older drivers with age-related functional deficits collide with other vehicles, pedestrians, and sometimes even buildings. Medical professionals and licensing examiners, who are looked to by society to prevent these occurrences, have no ways to quickly, effectively, and safely identify older drivers with an elevated high risk of crash. The research team assembled here proposes to modify an existing computer based technology that has been shown in the past to predict dangerous driving performance in older drivers. The Peripheral Motion Contrast Threshold (PMCT) test is a 10 minute test of peripheral motion detection (peripheral motion detection being extremely important for driving). Because the current length of the test is perceived to be too long to easily administer in a medical or licensing examiner setting, the research team proposes to create a 2 minute version of the test;and validate it using a general population of younger (50-) drivers and comparing it to their performance on the current PMCT tests and other generally accepted forced-choice visual psychophysics procedures. Furthermore, since the goal is to create a tool to help detect potentially dangerous older drivers, older drivers'2 minute PMCT test scores will also be correlated with their performance in a high fidelity driving simulator. If effective, this approach could be used to identify potentially high-risk drivers, assist them to overcome the motion processing deficit by training them to adopt safe compensatory strategies, limit their privileges, or as a last resort, remove them from the road. Deployment of this test could significantly reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries and fatalities that occur each year.
Motor vehicle crashes due to functional impairment of driving ability are a significant public health problem. For this effort the assembled research team proposes to improve upon an existing peripheral motion contrast threshold technology that has been shown in the past to have high correlation with high accident risk driving performance, particularly in older drivers. While a visual peripheral motion contrast assessment procedure already exist, the research team understands that the test is too long and therefore not usable by the target population of users such as health professionals and license examiners. The test will be shortened to a 2 minute version and be designed as a standalone application that can run on standard, Windows based personal computers. If effective, this approach could be used by medical professionals to identify potentially dangerous drivers, assist them to overcome the motion processing deficit by training them to adopt safe compensatory strategies, limit their privileges, or as a last resort, remove them from the road. Deployment of this test could significantly reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries and fatalities that occur each year.