ABSTRACT

Driving is a complex task that requires visual, cognitive, and psychomotor abilities. As people age, they may experience declines in these functional abilities as a result of medical conditions that become more prevalent with age, the medications used to treat them, and the aging process itself that can compromise their ability to drive safely. While individual differences are large (Department of Transport, 2001; European Road Safety Observatory, 2006; Janke, 1994) and the impacts of such declines on actual crash risk are not always fully known (Whelan, Langford, Oxley, Koppel, & Charlton, 2006), it is clear that with increasing age most older adults experience some loss in visual perception ability (e.g., Bailey & Sheedy, 1988; Owsley & Sloane, 1990; Schieber, 1994), decreases in cognitive functioning (e.g., Cerella, 1985; Denney & Palmer, 1981), and/or decreased psychomotor function (e.g., Kausler, 1991; Marottoli & Drickamer, 1993; Yee, 1985). Thus, it is important to understand the key abilities related to psychomotor functioning, vision, and cognition, and how they are affected by the aging process.