Driving performance evaluation based on long term video monitoring of habitual driving by visually impaired Abstract Millions of visually impaired people do not drive because they fail to meet the normal vision requirements (e.g. 20/40 visual acuity). Among them are many older drivers who have driven for many years, and now are forced to stop driving due to age-related vision loss. Actually, there is a legal option in 38 states of the US that people with moderate central vision loss (e.g. visual acuity better than 20/200) may be permitted to drive when wearing spectacle-mounted bioptic telescopes. It is possible that this option may enable many older people with impaired vision to prolong their independence and extend mobility, and therefore improve their quality of life. The merit of years of driving experience might make these older drivers good candidates for bioptic driving, as they only need to learn how to effectively use the bioptic telescope to improve vision while driving. However, the safety of bioptic driving is still a highly controversial issue, essentially because bioptic driving is poorly understood. Knowledge about whether and how bioptic telescopes are actually used in driving, how they should be used appropriately, and whether their use results in better or worse driving performance has never been scientifically established. Based on our existing prototype system, we will develop digital recording systems that can be installed in bioptic drivers'own vehicles to record their daily driving activities over a period of months. Videos of the driver and traffic, GPS coordinates and vehicle black box data, etc. will be recorded. We will develop computer-aided reviewing techniques to automatically extract the most informative driving segments from the vast amount of data, reconstruct the selected driving procedures on an interactive interface, and then have them assessed off- line by specialized driving instructors using an evaluation method that will be validated against an on-road driving assessment. A series of ground breaking experiments will be conducted to: Quantify how bioptic telescopes are actually used in habitual driving;Assess driving performance of 12 older bioptic drivers and a normally-sighted control group;Investigate relationship between driving performance and certain bioptic use patterns;Examine whether older bioptic drivers restrict driving mobility more than matched normally-sighted drivers;Verify whether self-reports of bioptic driving (using questionnaires) agree with objective measures.
The results of this exploratory study will provide unprecedented evidence to help driving educators develop evidence-based guidelines and procedures for training visually impaired bioptic drivers. Exploratory findings obtained from this study will be critical for designing further scientific research to implicitly evaluate the value of bioptic telescopes for driving. This study and further research are important in informing low vision rehabilitation and driver licensing, which is not only for the benefits of visually impaired people, but also for the safety of millions of other drivers on the road.
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