Comparison of a Virtual Older Driver Assessment with an On-Road Driving Test

Ranmalee Eramudugolla*, Jasmine Price, Sidhant Chopra, Xiaolan Li, Kaarin J. Anstey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: To design a low-cost simulator-based driving assessment for older adults and to compare its validity with that of an on-road driving assessment and other measures of older driver risk. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Setting: Canberra, Australia. Participants: Older adult drivers (N = 47; aged 65–88, mean age 75.2). Measurements: Error rate on a simulated drive with environment and scoring procedure matched to those of an on-road test. Other measures included participant age, simulator sickness severity, neuropsychological measures, and driver screening measures. Outcome variables included occupational therapist (OT)-rated on-road errors, on-road safety rating, and safety category. Results: Participants’ error rate on the simulated drive was significantly correlated with their OT-rated driving safety (correlation coefficient (r) = −0.398, P =.006), even after adjustment for age and simulator sickness (P =.009). The simulator error rate was a significant predictor of categorization as unsafe on the road (P =.02, sensitivity 69.2%, specificity 100%), with 13 (27%) drivers assessed as unsafe. Simulator error was also associated with other older driver safety screening measures such as useful field of view (r = 0.341, P =.02), DriveSafe (r = −0.455, P <.01), and visual motion sensitivity (r = 0.368, P =.01) but was not associated with memory (delayed word recall) or global cognition (Mini-Mental State Examination). Drivers made twice as many errors on the simulated assessment as during the on-road assessment (P <.001), with significant differences in the rate and type of errors between the two mediums. Conclusion: A low-cost simulator-based assessment is valid as a screening instrument for identifying at-risk older drivers but not as an alternative to on-road evaluation when accurate data on competence or pattern of impairment is required for licensing decisions and training programs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e253-e258
    JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


    Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of a Virtual Older Driver Assessment with an On-Road Driving Test'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this