Medical disorders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The Problem. Medical disorders impair driver perception, cognition, personality, and mood, which in turn can reduce driver performance and increase the risk of driver errors that lead to vehicle crashes. Minimizing crash risk and maximizing mobility depend on understanding how medical impairments affect particular aspects of driving behavior. Role of Driving Simulators. Studies of medically impaired operators in controlled circumstances in a driving simulator can reveal valuable information on the abilities required to safely drive a car. Simulation also provides a safe platform for driver training and for testing interventions designed to reduce driver errors and injuries, and increase mobility. This includes driver performance monitoring devices, and collision alerting and warning systems. Key Results of Driving Simulator Studies. Simulation has been successfully applied to assess performance profiles in drivers who are at increased risk for a crash due to a variety of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, HIV, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, sleep apnea, hepatic encephalopathy, alcohol and other drug effects, visual disorders, psychiatric disorders, and age-related performance decline. Scenarios and Dependent Variables. The scenarios can focus on how specific medical deficits map onto driving tasks. Dependent measures can be determined using task analyses. Physiologic measures of health and disease, including brain activity, can be assessed in synchrony with driving task performance measures. Platform Specificity and Equipment Limitations. An “evergreen” issue is how much fidelity is needed and how the results compare across different simulators and real driving outcomes. Low-fidelity or “surrealistic” simulations can address focused questions on driver capacity. Austere versions of the driving task can be implemented in brain scanners to relate physiology and performance. It is unclear as yet if results in a simulator can be used for purposes of licensure or driving restriction. Simulator discomfort is a limiting factor. Predictions of driver safety and crash risk from driving simulator outcome measures depend on understanding the intervening patterns of real-world exposure, restriction, and other complex factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Driving Simulation for Engineering, Medicine, and Psychology
PublisherCRC Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781420061017
ISBN (Print)9781138074583
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Clinical Trials
  • Dementia
  • Emotion
  • Encephalopathy
  • Executive Functions
  • Memory
  • Mobility
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Systemic Disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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