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S. K. West, B. Munoz, K. T. Turano, S. Hassan, C. Munro, K. Lyketsos, K. Bandeen-Roche, SEEDS Team; Worse Vision Associated With Driving Behaviors, Increases in Driver Errors: Salisbury Eye Evaluation Driving Study (SEEDS). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):332.
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to determine the visual and cognitive factors associated with driving behaviors and driving errors in a cohort of older drivers.
A cohort of 1425 drivers age 67-87 years was recruited from the Maryland Vehicle Administration rosters. Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual fields were measured using standard procedures. The extent of the attentional visual field was assessed using a new device, and a cognitive test battery was administered. Driving behaviors were assessed in real time over a 5 day period, using a Driver Monitor System developed for this project which was mounted in the participant’s vehicle. Video, accelerometer and GPS data for each driving episode were obtained and analyzed for multiple indices of driving behaviors and errors. Parallel parking was assessed by questionnaire. We report baseline associations with night driving, parallel parking, and errors in stopping for traffic lights and stop signs.
This cohort in general had good vision and good cognition. Adjusted for age and sex, those who reported no longer parallel parking were more likely to have worse scores on cognitive tests of spatial reasoning, and a smaller extent of visual field (p<.02). Those who did not drive at night were also more likely to have worse visual fields (p< .003), adjusted for age and sex. Drivers who failed to stop at red traffic lights were more likely to have a smaller extent of attentional visual field (p<.0031), although this was not associated with failure to stop at stop signs.
Visual factors are associated with observed and reported driving behaviors. The extent of the attentional visual fields is associated with some types of driver errors, which may be important for risk of crashes. Prospective data from this cohort will be key to predicting driver behavior change, errors, and crash risk.
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