Objective: Being involved in motor vehicle collisions is the leading cause of death in 1- to 34-year-olds, and risk is particularly high in young adults. The Useful Field of View (UFOV) task, a cognitive measure of processing speed, divided attention, and selective attention, has been shown to be predictive of motor vehicle collisions in older adults, but its use as a predictor of driving performance in a young adult population has not been investigated. The present study examined whether UFOV was a predictive measure of motor vehicle collisions in a driving simulator in a young adult population.
Method: The 3-subtest version of UFOV (lower scores measured in milliseconds indicate better performance) was administered to 60 college students. Participants also completed an 11-mile simulated drive to provide driving performance metrics.
Results: Findings suggested that subtests 1 and 2 suffered from a ceiling effect. UFOV subtest 3 significantly predicted collisions in the simulated drive. Each 30 ms slower on the subtest was associated with nearly a 10% increase in the risk of a simulated collision. Post hoc analyses revealed a small partially mediating effect of subtest 3 on the relationship between driving experience and collisions.
Conclusion: The selective attention component of UFOV subtest 3 may be a predictive measure of crash involvement in a young adult population. Improvements in selective attention may be the underlying mechanism in how driving experience improves driving performance.
Keywords: driving experience; driving simulator; selective attention; top-down processing; useful field of view.