Assessing Fitness-To-Drive among Older Drivers: A Comparative Analysis of Potential Alternatives to on-Road Driving Test

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 29;17(23):E8886. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17238886.


To enable older drivers to maintain mobility without endangering public safety, it is necessary to develop more effective means of assessing their fitness-to-drive as alternatives to an on-road driving test. In this study, a functional ability test, simulated driving test, and on-road driving test were carried out for 136 older drivers. Influencing factors related to fitness-to-drive were selected based on the correlation between the outcome measure of each test and the pass/fail outcome of the on-road driving test. Four potential alternatives combining different tests were considered and three modeling techniques were compared when constructing the fitness-to-drive assessment model for the elderly. As a result, 92 participants completed all of the tests, of which 61 passed the on-road driving test and the remaining 31 failed. A total of seven influencing factors from all types of tests were selected. The best model was trained by the technique of gradient boosted machine using all of the seven factors, generating the highest accuracy of 92.8%, with sensitivity of 0.94 and specificity of 0.90. The proposed fitness-to-drive assessment method is considered an effective alternative to the on-road driving test, and the results offer a valuable reference for those unfit-to-drive older drivers to either adjust their driving behavior or cease driving.

Keywords: fitness-to-drive; gradient boosted machine (GBM); older drivers; road traffic safety; simulated driving.