Clinical and Experimental Optometry
Among all crash types, the largest percentage of older driver fatalities occur at intersections. Many explanations have been offered for older drivers' increased risks of crashing at intersections; however, only recently was it determined that older drivers were much less likely to glance for latent threats after entering an intersection than middle-aged drivers. In response, training programmes were designed to increase the frequency of such glances. The programmes have proven effective, doubling the frequency of these glances for up to a period of two years post-training. The programmes take only an hour to administer and are not directly targeted at remediating any of the underlying declines in cognitive, visual or motor function that can explain the decrease in the frequency of glances for threat vehicles among older drivers. The first question we addressed was, what are the basic declines that can explain the decrease in glances for threat vehicles? The second question we addressed was, how did the training programme achieve the results it did without directly addressing these declines? We hypothesise that drivers are learning to decouple hand, foot and head movements in the training programmes and that this serialisation of behaviour essentially sidesteps the major declines in cognitive, visual and motor functions. We provide evidence that the assumptions of the decoupling hypothesis about the capabilities of older drivers when the movements are decoupled, are consistent with the evidence from existing experiments. More research is needed to evaluate this hypothesis.
Original Publication Citation
Samuel, S., Yamani, Y., & Fisher, D. L. (2016). Large reductions are possible in older driver crashes at intersections. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 99(5), 419-424. doi:10.1111/cxo.12443
Samuel, Siby; Yamani, Yusuke; and Fisher, Danald L., "Large Reductions Are Possible in Older Driver Crashes at Intersections" (2016). Psychology Faculty Publications. 64.