The driving habits of older adults with visual impairment
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Chaparro, A., McGregor, L., & Stumpfhauser, L. (1998). The driving habits of older adults with visual impairment. Presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Chicago, Illinois, October 5-9, 1998.
It is estimated that there are 3 million Americans with visual impairment (best corrected acuity of 20/40). How many persons with visual impairment drive and how their driving habits differ from elderly drivers without visual impairment is not known. To address this issue a driving survey was administered to a group of elderly (mean age = 78.69, SD=10.73) recruited from a retirement home community and an agency providing services to persons with visual impairment. The survey solicited demographic information (age, sex, education level), information about driving habits (miles driven yearly, frequency of driving at night, during rush-hour etc.), and ratings of either the level or frequency of difficulty experienced with different driving tasks (seeing the instrument panel, difficulty is glare produced by headlights, judging speed, reading signs etc.). We found that similar to 50% and 83% of elderly, respectively with and without visual impairment continue to drive. The low vision drivers report significantly greater difficulty with glare caused by headlights, reading street signs, seeing past a dirty windshield and seeing their instrument panel clearly. Analysis of the driving habits revealed that the drivers with and without visual impairment reported similar levels of rush-hour driving, and drove approximately the same number of miles a year. However, visually impaired elderly drivers were significantly less likely to drive at night than their elderly counterparts with normal vision.
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