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Lindsay M. Vaux, Rui Ni, Matthew Rizzo, Ergun Y. Uc, George J. Andersen; Detection of imminent collisions by drivers with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Stroke. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):533. doi: 10.1167/7.9.533.
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A key task during driving is the ability to detect and avoid collisions. Detecting a collision in a field of moving objects requires a serial search (Andersen & Kim, 2001). Older observers have decreased ability to detect impending collisions (Andersen & Enriquez, 2006). This study aimed to assess collision detection abilities among different groups of at risk drivers with neurological disease. These included a stroke/brain lesion group (n = 22), a Parkinson's disease group (n = 8) and an Alzheimer's disease group (n = 7). A comparison group comprised drivers ages 65 years or older without neurological disease (n = 20). Test displays simulated a roadway scene with objects translating with constant speed and linear trajectory toward the observer. Independent variables were time-to-contact, TTC (1s or 3s) and number of objects (1 or 6). Sensitivity of collision detection was measured using d'. The main effects of number of objects F(1,53)=154.2 and TTC F(1,53)=18.8 were significant, indicating decreasing ability to detect a collision with increasing numbers of objects and increasing TTC. The main effect of clinical group was also significant, F(1,53)=3.9, as were the interactions between group, number of objects and TTC, F(1,53)=2.86. Collision detection sensitivity was highest for the elderly comparison group, followed by the stroke, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease groups. The decrease in sensitivity between the groups was greatest at the 3 sec TTC/6 object condition, compared to the other TTC and number of object conditions. These results suggest an increased risk of crashes among drivers with different neurological disorders. Further study is needed to determine effects of disease stage and specific lesion location and extent.
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