Assessing fitness-to-drive in the elderly by means of a driving simulator - Feasibility study
With increasing age, changes in sensory, cognitive and motor abilities frequently occur. The probability of developing a medical condition as well as taking medication is also increasing. Driving competence in old age can be influenced by these factors. An assessment of driving behaviour in real traffic is considered the “gold standard” for assessing fitness-to-drive; however, it is also associated with disadvantages. Critical factors include the dependence on weather and traffic conditions as well as the occurrence of dangerous situations. To clarify the question whether the assessment of fitness-to-drive in the driving simulator is an alternative, BASt carried out investigations in its own driving simulator. The test examined how the driving competence of a group of elderly drivers with an average age of 65 differs from the performance of younger drivers.
The test arrangement consisting of a driving route with representative driving tasks and a concept for evaluating fitness-to-drive on the basis of observations has proven itself for carrying out the test in a driving simulator. Adequate tolerance is also achieved for elderly drivers by means of familiarization training, so that a simulator-based assessment of fitness-to-drive can be successfully carried out.