Effect of simulated visual impairment on nighttime driving performance

Wood, Joanne M., Chaparro, Alex, Carberry, Trent P., & Chu, Byoung Sun (2010) Effect of simulated visual impairment on nighttime driving performance. Optometry & Vision Science, 87(6), pp. 379-386.

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PURPOSE: This study investigated the effects of simulated visual impairment on nighttime driving performance and pedestrian recognition under real-road conditions.

METHODS: Closed road nighttime driving performance was measured for 20 young visually normal participants (M = 27.5 +/- 6.1 years) under three visual conditions: normal vision, simulated cataracts, and refractive blur that were incorporated in modified goggles. The visual acuity levels for the cataract and blur conditions were matched for each participant. Driving measures included sign recognition, avoidance of low contrast road hazards, time to complete the course, and lane keeping. Pedestrian recognition was measured for pedestrians wearing either black clothing or black clothing with retroreflective markings on the moveable joints to create the perception of biological motion ("biomotion").

RESULTS: Simulated visual impairment significantly reduced participants' ability to recognize road signs, avoid road hazards, and increased the time taken to complete the driving course (p < 0.05); the effect was greatest for the cataract condition, even though the cataract and blur conditions were matched for visual acuity. Although visual impairment also significantly reduced the ability to recognize the pedestrian wearing black clothing, the pedestrian wearing "biomotion" was seen 80% of the time.

CONCLUSIONS: Driving performance under nighttime conditions was significantly degraded by modest visual impairment; these effects were greatest for the cataract condition. Pedestrian recognition was greatly enhanced by marking limb joints in the pattern of "biomotion," which was relatively robust to the effects of visual impairment.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
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212 since deposited on 10 Jan 2011
26 in the past twelve months

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ID Code: 39470
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published version freely available via journal website 12 months after publication date (see Official URL above).
Keywords: night driving, driving performance, simulated visual impairment, pedestrian recognition
DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3181d95b0d
ISSN: 1040-5488
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Copyright Owner: American Academy of Optometry
Deposited On: 10 Jan 2011 03:42
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 03:43

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