"This validated assessment tool is a perfect complement to our other driving programs as we look to expand the use of Raydon's commercial simulation technology and to provide affordable solutions for assessing driver performance," said Don Ariel, Raydon co-founder and CEO.
Crash rates for drivers 75 and older are second only to the rates of drivers under 24, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Older driver involvement in fatal crashes is projected to increase 155 percent by 2030, accounting for 54 percent of the total projected increase in fatal crashes among all drivers.
"As the population ages, the percentage of older drivers increases and declining driver competence becomes an urgent public health problem," said Freund.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of elderly driver restrictions, including accelerated renewal procedures and requirements for vision tests. Two states, Illinois and New Hampshire, mandate road tests for drivers age 75 and older, but few DMVs have personnel trained to objectively evaluate older drivers.
"The DMV is primarily equipped to conduct road tests with novice drivers, not experienced older drivers," said Freund. In most cases, DMVs refer evaluations to specialists trained to evaluate older drivers. That can be expensive and evaluations are not standardized.
Freund's 30-minute driver evaluation program requires driving on suburban, urban and rural roads, with the execution of maneuvers likely to cause stress for instance, avoiding a pedestrian on a highway. The program evaluates driver performance and categorizes drivers as either safe or unsafe. Because driving requires a range of cognitive functions, the simulator testing may bring attention to a previously undiagnosed cognitive impairment
Contact: Doug Gardner
Eastern Virginia Medical School