Skip to main content

The primary goal of this study is to develop driving simulation strategies for the assessment of senior?aged drivers, targeting those with known/suspected cognitive impairment. These simulation strategies will supplement, not replace, existing protocols for driver assessment. A driving simulator can be used to: define driving tasks that are likely to be affected by stages of dementia, and to capture vital driver performance metrics. Such a controlled and measurable environment can be used to implement scenarios that sufficiently challenge suspect drivers in a way that, due to safety concerns, could not be accomplished within an actual vehicle. Drivers will be evaluated in a driving simulator located at the University at Buffalo (UB) (Figure 1), and subsequently evaluated conventionally: in?clinic (to measure cognitive state) and in?vehicle (to measure mechanical ability to operate a vehicle). In the simulator, drivers will face 3 historically problematic scenarios: 1) Traffic Sign Management, 2) Intersection Management, and 3) Left Turn Management. The road course will be driven twice: with and without evaluator navigation ?? it is hypothesized that patients with dementia will exhibit a marked decrease in driver performance in the absence of evaluator navigation. In an effort to validate the proposed protocol, a small pilot study will be performed. Approximately 15 “well elderly” drivers and 15 drivers with dementia will be recruited, and the samples compared subsequent to all evaluations.

Research Categories