Sensorimotor and postural control factors associated with driving safety in a community-dwelling older driver population

Lacherez, Philippe, Wood, Joanne M., Anstey, Kaarin J., & Lord, Stephen R. (2014) Sensorimotor and postural control factors associated with driving safety in a community-dwelling older driver population. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69A(2), pp. 240-244.

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Background. To establish whether sensorimotor function and balance are associated with on-road driving performance in older adults.

Methods. The performance of 270 community-living adults aged 70–88 years recruited via the electoral roll was measured on a battery of peripheral sensation, strength, flexibility, reaction time, and balance tests and on a standardized measure of on-road driving performance.

Results. Forty-seven participants (17.4%) were classified as unsafe based on their driving assessment. Unsafe driving was associated with reduced peripheral sensation, lower limb weakness, reduced neck range of motion, slow reaction time, and poor balance in univariate analyses. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified poor vibration sensitivity, reduced quadriceps strength, and increased sway on a foam surface with eyes closed as significant and independent risk factors for unsafe driving. These variables classified participants into safe and unsafe drivers with a sensitivity of 74% and specificity of 70%.

Conclusions. A number of sensorimotor and balance measures were associated with driver safety and the multivariate model comprising measures of sensation, strength, and balance was highly predictive of unsafe driving in this sample. These findings highlight important determinants of driver safety and may assist in developing efficacious driver safety strategies for older drivers.

Impact and interest:

7 citations in Scopus
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6 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 66789
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Driving issues, Functional performance, Balance, Physical function
DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glt173
ISSN: 1758-535X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Authors
Copyright Statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci (2014) 69A (2): 240-244.] is available online at:
Deposited On: 31 Jan 2014 01:30
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2015 12:26

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