Kate Hyun, PhD; Seri Park, PhD | University of Texas at Arlington
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Award year: 2021
The National Highway Safety Administration showed that the population of people 65+ increased by 32 percent from 2009 to 2018 while traffic crash fatalities of this age group increased by 30 percent. Recognizing the importance of safety of older drivers, researchers have explored older driver’s self-reported driving behavior patterns. However, little is known about the gaps existing between older adults’ perception on driving efficacy and their actual driving performances, and the corresponding impacts on road safety. Considering the significant deterioration of cognitive ability and responsiveness to dangers with aging, it is imperative to understand older driver’s driving performance and develop a decision-support tool that enhances self-awareness and self-control of driving. The goal of this study is (i) to understand the in-depth correlations between older adults’ perceived driving patterns and observed driving performance and (ii) develop a supportive tool for older adults to self-evaluate their driving performances and for agencies to support mobility decision making. This study develops an innovative standardized tool that could be adopted by government agencies such as DMV or DPS as well as health institutions to support older adults’ self-assessment of driving efficacy. The tool uses state-of-the-art sensors and driving simulators to accurately capture the driving performances of older adults. If this study successfully establishes a proof-of-concept and a prototype tool that supports older drivers’ safe mobility by enhancing their self-awareness on driving, this research will significantly advance the current state-of-practice and contribute to a new framework to improve the healthy longevity of older adults.