As the population of many industrialized countries ages, the number of older drivers on the roads increases. Statistics show that older drivers are at increased risk for involvement in fatal accidents. One explanation for this is the cognitive and motor declines associated with the aging process. As we age, performance on attention, memory and motor control tasks, three important components of driving, declines. In the present study we examined the relationship between performance on component cognitive tasks and the influence of training on these tasks on the simulated driving performance of older adults. More specifically, we assessed performance on and trained older adults on single and dual tasks of attention, working memory and manual control. Regression analyses demonstrated that performance on the single and dual cognitive tasks and improvements in these computer-based tasks with training were predictive of improvements in driving simulator performance across the course of the study. These data suggest that relatively simple single and dual computer-based tasks and modest amounts of training on these tasks can improve driving performance in older adults, thereby extending functional independence.
- Cognitive assessment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Engineering (miscellaneous)