The role of cognition for identifying unsafe young drivers

Journal article


Di Meco, Andrea, Bennett, Joanne M., Batchelor, Jennifer, Chekaluk, Eugene, Andrews, Elizabeth and Habib, Jessica. (2021). The role of cognition for identifying unsafe young drivers. Safety Science. 138, p. Article 105099. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2020.105099
AuthorsDi Meco, Andrea, Bennett, Joanne M., Batchelor, Jennifer, Chekaluk, Eugene, Andrews, Elizabeth and Habib, Jessica
Abstract

Young drivers (individuals between the ages of 15 and 25 years) engage in unsafe driving more than any other age group, accounting for a large portion of youth mortality rates both in Australia and worldwide. Recent research has found a link between cognitive factors such as memory, attention and executive functions and driving performance in younger drivers. The aim of the current study was to explore the unique contribution made by specific cognitive domains to unsafe youth driving, with the intention of using cognitive measures to help identify unsafe drivers. Participants comprised 95 (72% female) undergraduate students aged between 18 and 24 years. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, a battery of cognitive tests shown to be related to driving performance in older age groups and two simulated drives. Driving performance measures included speeding (percentage of time over the limit, and average speed greater than 10 km/h over the limit), collisions and lane keeping measured via the Standard Deviation of Lane Position (SDLP). Results revealed that visuospatial ability (the visual object space and perception battery) predicted unsafe time spend speeding, whilst visuospatial executive function (Rey Complex Figure Organisation) and psychomotor skills with dominant hand (Grooved Pegboard) were found to predict average speed over the limit. The results returned on those measures, however, did not permit the clinical utility of the measures that would enable categorisation of safe and unsafe drivers above an 80% criterion of clinical significance. Recommendations for future studies are considered in light of limitations with the study such as the dichotomisation and choice of the driving performance measures, the choice of the cognitive tests and the sample of participants. These results provide a starting point for further investigation into the feasibility of cognitive testing for younger drivers.

Keywordscognitive functioning; driving; unsafe driving; fitness to drive; young drivers
Year2021
JournalSafety Science
Journal citation138, p. Article 105099
PublisherElsevier Ltd
ISSN0925-7535
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2020.105099
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85096553222
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-10
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 Nov 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted12 Nov 2020
Deposited07 Sep 2021
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