Road tests accurately reflect older drivers’ natural driving: study

December 5, 2012

Providence, RI – Road tests appear to be reasonable estimates of older adults’ fitness to drive, according to a new study from Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.

Researchers compared results from a standardized road test delivered by a driving instructor against reviews of video recordings of the participants driving in their natural environment for two weeks. A total of 103 drivers between 60 and 90 years old who had passed a road test participated in the study.

Researchers found that participants made similar errors in the natural setting to ones made during the road test, although they made more overall errors in the natural driving environments, according to the study abstract. Cognitively impaired participants scored lower in both tests compared to participants with no cognitive impairments.

Future studies can determine if one method of driving ability examination is a better predictor of overall driving safety, the researchers said.

The study was published in November in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.