Two HF Driving News Articles

1. Although I had trouble finding corroborating sources, it looks as though the government of Samoa is going to switch what side of the road people drive on in a few weeks. You don’t have to be a human factors expert to guess at the trouble this will cause.

2. New study says older drivers are not “such a hazard.”

What I liked about this news article was that it intimated that AGE is not the problem, age-RELATED changes are. For example:

“Crash frequency increases at age 70 to 75,” she said. “But driving ability can be compromised at any age and by health conditions like diabetes, stroke or serious head injuries, so we have to have lots of built-in safety nets.”

Age-related specifies that these changes in vision, motor control, and cognition often accompany age, but there is high variability. It would be hard to argue that everyone loses their license at 75, for example, once you acknowledge that these changes are “age-related” instead of being due to aging.

The article also touched on selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) that occurs for older drivers:

“As we get older,” he said, “our reaction times slow, our vision and peripheral vision decrease, our hearing decreases. But a person can compensate for all that with common sense. I know people in their 20s and 30s who I wouldn’t ride across the street with.”

If you’d like to learn more about the SOC model of adaptation, here is a free full text overview of the topic.

The data for these claims comes from the decline of fatal accidents for older drivers from 1997 to 2006. This graph comes from the Insurance Institute report.


Click here for a PDF of the primary source.