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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 125-129

Assessment of driving skills of indian adults on a driving simulator: A pilot study


Department of Occupational Therapy, All India Institute of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission25-May-2019
Date of Acceptance23-Oct-2019
Date of Web Publication3-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sushmita Ahirwal
All India Institute of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, K.K. Marg, L.L. Udyan, Haji Ali, Mahalaxmi, Girls Hostel,Mumbai - 400 034, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_16_19

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  Abstract 


Background: Driving is associated with independence, but it also exposes a person to harmful situations while on road. Safety becomes an important aspect while assessing an individual's driving ability. This study examined the driving performance of Indian drivers, both young- and middle-aged adults on driving simulator (DS). Three tests were selected on the DS: Ability test 1: clutch, accelerator, brake, and steering assessment; Ability test 2: stopping, precise stopping, hard stopping, and reaction time; and Ability test 3: city driving for 5 min. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess and compare the driving performance in young- and middle-aged Indian adults. Study Design: Observational, analytical study design was chosen for the research - a pilot study on DS. Methods: A total of thirty normal adults were included in this study. Among them, 15 normal adults who were of 20-40 years were called young adults and other 15 who were of 40-60 years were called middle-aged. The inclusion criteria were normal adults with experience of driving four-wheeler for ≥1-year, both male and females, and age >20 years. Exclusion criteria were normal adults who had readily noticeable visual, cognitive, or locomotors impairment which can compromise on the driving ability. The outcome measures were scores from DS software. The test scores were analyzed using unpaired t-test. Results: There were 30 normal adults included in the study (n = 30). In Ability 1, performance on clutch (P = 0.13), brake (P = 0.90), and accelerator (P = 0.97) did not show significant difference between the young and middle age groups; steering (P = 0.00) performance had highly significant difference between young- and middle-aged adults. Middle-aged adults performed better than young adults. In Ability 2, performance for precise stopping (P = 0.01) has shown a significant difference, whereas reaction time (P = 0.008) is highly significant. On the other hand, stopping (P = 0.6) and hard stopping (P = 0.85) do not have a significant difference between the two groups.In city driving (P = 0.00), middle-aged adults performed better than young adults. The level of significance was set at α =0.05 and the confidence interval was at 95%, and the degree of freedom was 28. Conclusion: The performance of driving skills in normal Indian adults on DS is an achievable functional measure. Middle-aged adults are at par with young adults in the simulated operations when checked on the DS for Ability 1, Ability 2, and city driving.

Keywords: Driving Simulator, Indian Adults, Off-Road Driving Skills


How to cite this article:
Ahirwal S, Gupta A, Gupta S. Assessment of driving skills of indian adults on a driving simulator: A pilot study. Indian J Occup Ther 2019;51:125-9

How to cite this URL:
Ahirwal S, Gupta A, Gupta S. Assessment of driving skills of indian adults on a driving simulator: A pilot study. Indian J Occup Ther [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Feb 23];51:125-9. Available from: http://www.ijotonweb.org/text.asp?2019/51/4/125/274805




  Introduction Top


Driving is defined as a means to maintain control over and spontaneity in daily-life activities. It is an important component of independence and mobility within most communities. People depend on their capability to drive to get them everywhere within their communities and to provide the level of freedom.[1] Driving is associated with independence, but it also exposes a person to harmful situations while on road. Safety becomes an important aspect while assessing an individual's driving ability. Driving simulator (DS) is an answer to solve most of these difficulties during the assessment. It is an objective assessment and rules out any bias in performance, as the performance is quantified and is shown as a numerical score. In various studies, the virtual environment of a DS provides several benefits, such as driving environment and the opportunity to study either rare or dangerous situations for the driver, and it saves time and money.[2]

This study examined the driving performance of young- and middle-aged Indian adults on DS.

The Department of Occupational Therapy at the All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has procured a new DS. This is innovative and indigenously developed equipment which is made in India. Unlike the Western simulator, this simulator will need to have its own reference values performed by nondisabled drivers, which can be helpful later to compare with the disabled driver population. Hence, the study was undertaken to derive the scores on Indian (nondisabled) drivers primarily.

The aim was to study the off-road driving performance in Indian drivers. The objectives were to study the performance of young- and middle-aged adults using DS and to compare the performance of young- and middle-aged adults on DS.


  Methods Top


The research was an observational, analytical, comparative pilot study, conducted at the All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The study was conducted from August 2018 to October 2018 for a total of 3-month duration. A DS was used for the assessment in this study. Each session of evaluation was about approximately 1.15-h duration. The following ability tests were selected on the DS: Ability test 1: clutch, accelerator, brake, and steering assessment; Ability test 2: stopping, precise stopping, hard stopping, and reaction time; advanced driving test: city driving (for 5 min); and sampling method: convenience sampling. Sample selection: Normal adults with driving experience using a four-wheeler, both males and females, were selected for the study. Inclusion criteria included: 1. normal adults with experience of driving four-wheeler (car) ≤1-year, 2. either gender, and 3. age ≥20 years. Exclusion criteria included: the normal adults who had noticeable visual, cognitive, or physical impairment which could compromise on driving ability. The research work was conducted adhering to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki Guidelines. All participants voluntarily signed written informed consent before their testing started.

Tool Used

Driving simulator

I-Tech drive simulator [Figure 1] was used in this study. It is a made-in-India product which assesses the physical skills, cognitive, and perceptual skills in a risk-free environment. Auditory and visual feedback was provided in the simulator. Normal adults controlled the simulator by moving the steering wheel, manipulating accelerator, clutch, and braking pedal. The skills were calculated in the DS in percentage in table forms. The following abilities were assessed in DS: Ability 1: clutch, brake, accelerator, and steering assessment; Ability 2: stopping, precise stopping, hard stopping, reaction time; Ability 3 and 4: gear operations and other advanced operations; and advance ability test: driving scenarios, such as in city, highway, and terrain. This involved driving and crossing intersections, taking right and left turn, overtaking, and lane changing, and the inbuilt program in the system scored performance and deducted points if any errors were made.
Figure 1: Driving Simulator

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There is a possibility of adjustment of day/night, light/medium or heavy traffic, and rain/fog/snow driving. For this pilot study, Ability 1, Ability 2, and city driving from advanced ability tests were selected. The normal adults were asked to sit on the driver seat of simulator; instructions were given by the therapist to follow the command generated by the system. Before conducting each test, one trial was taken to make normal adults comfortable and to be sure that normal adults understood the process adequately. In this manner, the normal adults went through ability 1, 2, and city driving.

Data analysis using the unpaired t-test was used to compare the performance between the young- and middle-aged groups. The level of significance was set at α = 0.05 and confidence interval (CI) was at 95%, and the degree of freedom was 28.


  Results Top


In this study, 32 normal adults were screened using the inclusion criteria. There were two dropouts (rate: 6.25%), so finally 30 normal adults were recruited and their data were analyzed in the study.[3] The sample included 15 young adults (age range from 20 to 40 years) and 15 middle age adults (age range from 41 to 60 years). [Table 1] shows the comparative statistics for the composite measures for middle-aged and young adults from the simulated drivers. The mean age of the young adults was 27.6 years and that for middle-aged adults was 49 years. The driving experience with the young adults was an average of 5.6 years and middle-aged adults was 26.6 years.[3],[4] [Table 2] shows the ability 1 performance on clutch; brake and accelerator did not show significant difference between the young- and middle-aged groups. However, it was seen that there is a significant difference in the mean in brake performance, and old drivers have outperformed the young adults. A similar trend is seen for accelerator performance with negligible difference. Steering performance had a highly significant difference between the young- and middle-aged adults, and middle-aged adults were again far better than young adults.
Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of Young and Middle Age Adults

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Table 2: Driving Simulator Ability 1 and Ability 2 Scores of Young versus Middle-Aged Adult

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In ability 2, performance for the precise stopping has shown a significant difference between the young- and middle-aged adults. Middle-aged adults have performed better than the young adults. The difference in reaction time tested for middle- and young-aged adults is highly significant, and the score suggests the extremely well performance of middle-aged adults. Stopping and hard stopping do not have significant difference between the young- and middle-aged groups.

[Table 3] shows that in city driving middle-aged adults performed better than young adults. As shown in [Table 3], the level of significance was set at α =0.05 and CI was at 95%, and the degree of freedom was 28.
Table 3: Errors in City Driving

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  Discussion Top


Outcome measures comprised scores generated from DS. It includes Ability 1, Ability 2, and city driving assessment which assess the physical abilities of drivers. The two dropouts (rate: 6.25%) in the study could be attributed to the long time needed to finish the test and apprehension for the high tech gadget. Fifteen normal adults completed the task in each group (young and middle-aged). In the ability test, we did not find any significant difference in clutch, brake, accelerator, stopping, and hard stopping assessment in both the groups.[5],[6]

Aksan et al. in their study on correspondence between Simulator and On-Road Drive Performance - Implications for Assessment of Driving Safety - described the implications for the use of simulators in the assessment of driving. Forty-two younger (mean age = 35) and 37 older drivers (mean age = 77) completed four similar simulated drives. Performance in the simulated drives was evaluated using both electronic drive data and video review of errors. They examined performance on various driving tasks, including lane change, lane keeping, speed control, stopping, turns, and overall performance. Older drivers performed more poorly than younger drivers on lane change, lane observance, speed control, and overall safety in both the simulator and the on-road drive.[3] It is worthy to note that the classification of young and old drivers was different in the current study. The so-called young drivers in their group almost represent the old group of the current study.

Danielle Brown in their study on A Comparison of Drivers Braking Responses across Ages examined the reaction times and braking forces of younger and older adults in both simple and complex reaction situations. The results showed that all participants had an increase in reaction time with increased complexity of the situation. However, this study's results show that the time difference between a brake reaction in a simple situation and one in a complex situation increases significantly with age.[1]

Suzanne E. Lee studied on the detection of road hazards by novice teen and experienced adult drivers. She found significant differences between teen drivers and more experienced adult drivers in a combined hazard detection analysis. The results indicate that the adult drivers observed hazards and demonstrated overt recognition of hazards more frequently than teen drivers. It also indicated that a large portion of teen drivers failed to disengage from peripheral task engagement in the presence of hazards.[7]

Salvia et al. conducted a study on the Effects of Age and Task Load on Drivers Response Accuracy and Reaction Time When Responding to Traffic Lights. They selected 25 middle-aged people (from 22 to 44 years) in the control group and 31 elderly people (from 70 to 88 years). In their study, they described that reaction time always favored the middle-aged group. Driving leads to automated sensorimotor associations between perception and action.

The most common link may be between perceiving a visual signal and pressing a pedal. Associating the red light with the left pedal and the green light with the right pedal thus resembled the sensorimotor coupling between traffic lights and brake/acceleration controls during driving (although the left pedal is usually the clutch). Their results clearly show that this coordination deteriorates in two ways during aging since both reaction time and response accuracy was impaired in the elderly group. Hence, it means that the middle age group is performing better than the elder age group.[8]

Fildes et al. described the findings of a study on Driving Responses of Older and Younger Drivers in a DS. This research has described in the visual search patterns of young and older drivers with reference to the timing, location, and duration of visual fixations during a simulated hazardous driving task and the associated driving responses. The finding that older drivers were consistently slower to fixate hazardous stimuli in the driving environment and were slower to respond presents a potentially serious road safety concern [Figure 2] and [Figure 3].[9]
Figure 2: Mean Performance of Younger and Middle-Aged Adults in Ability 1 and 2

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Figure 3: Driving Skills of Indian Adults

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In our study, comparison of two groups that is young- and middle-aged adults of their physical performance in DS was made. It was found that the middle-aged adults (40-60 year) had a mean experience of 26.6 years and were performing better than younger adults (20-40 year) who had a mean experience of 5.6 years. The language of DS was English; the therapist explained each and every test verbally using Hindi or English, as was understood by the normal adults; also, a live demonstration was given when necessary. Some normal adults did not perform well due to language problems, as the simulator had an inbuilt instruction system using the English language. Two adults who were middle-aged did not perform well due to confusion in following the instruction in spite of demonstration and the constant fear of therapists checking their performance.

In few normal adults, the trial 1 of all components did not score well as it was their first attempt, but the rest of the trials were done well. In advanced driving assessment, 3 of 5 types of errors are observed frequently. They are high-risk collision, driver compliance for signal lights, and driver divided attention. The other two errors, i.e., driver compliance for major road signs and driver compliance for minor road signs, are not so frequent.

During the performance of the test, various errors were committed by normal adults. Some of them jumped the traffic lights; some of them crashed the car to the other vehicles and lane or corridor of the road, some did not indicate properly by the indicator. Some young adults wanted to finish the advanced driving assessment anyhow, not being serious with their performance. Young adults were having less attention during driving on DS as it did not impose any possibility of serious accidents.[5],[10] Few young participants having fear of using simulator were anxious during test, and did not perform well on DS. In this, the middle-aged adults' performance was better than young adults in city driving components and also in reaction time, clutch, brake, accelerator, stopping, precise stopping, and steering assessment.

Normal adults gave feedback of the performance on DS by observing that the time taken on test was more on the simulator because of four trials in each component. Furthermore, the environment surrounding the DS distracted the normal adults making them less attentive. However, in spite of precautions taken, there were often unavoidable situations in the department where other clinical works were practiced in the other parts of the room. Instructions given to the patients and their caretakers were loud and disturbing than the sound of horns on the road. They further said that the on-road driving environment was different from off-road driving and stress was more in on-road driving as compared to off-road. The on-road driving environment is real and living, and on off-road driving, the environment is virtual and nonliving.[11],[12]

Limitations

This study was conducted on a small sample size. Furthermore, the findings of off-road skills were not compared with on-road driving skills.

Future Suggestions

Large sample size should be taken.


  Conclusion Top


Performance of driving skills in normal Indian adults on DS is an achievable functional measure. Middle-aged adults are at par with young adults in the simulated operations when checked on the DS.

Financial Support and Sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Danielle B. A comparison of drivers' braking responses across ages. Scholarship 2012;12-75.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Pinto M, Cavallo V, Ohlmann T. The development of driving simulators: Toward a multisensory solution. Trav Hum 2008;71:62-65.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Aksan N, Hacker SD, Sager L, Dawson J, Anderson S, Rizzo M. Correspondence between simulator and on-road drive performance: Implications for assessment of driving safety. Geriatrics (Basel) 2016;1. pii: 8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Dennis D, Carlos Z, Thomas H, Bruce W, Dave M, Michel B, et al. The effect of concussion on reaction time and dual tasking ability in a simulated driving environment: Some preliminary results. Inter Conf Biom Sport 2016;34:18-12.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Edwards C, Creaser J, Caird J, Lamsdale A, Chisholm SL. Older and younger driver performance at complex intersections: Implications for using perception-response time and driving simulation. Res Gate 2003;1:33-38.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Michaels J, Chaumillon R, Nguyen-Tri D, Watanabe D, Hirsch P, Bellavance F, et al. Driving simulator scenarios and measures to faithfully evaluate risky driving behavior: A comparative study of different driver age groups. PLoS One 2017;12:e0185909.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Klauer SG, Olsen EC, Simons-Morton BG, Dingus TA, Ramsey DJ, Ouimet MC, et al. Detection of road hazards by novice teen and experienced adult drivers. Transp Res Rec 2008;2078:26-32.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Salvia E, Petit C, Champely S, Chomette R, Di Rienzo F, Collet C. Effects of age and task load on drivers' response accuracy and reaction time when responding to traffic lights. Front Aging Neurosci 2016;8:169.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Fildes B, Charlton J, Muir C, Koppel S. Driving responses of older and younger drivers in a driving simulator. Annu Proc Assoc Adv Automot Med 2007;51:559-572.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Chandrasiri NP, Nawa K, Akira I. Driving skill classification in curve driving scenes using machine learning. A J Mod Transp 2016;24:196.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Owens JM, Lehman RS. the effects of age and distraction on reaction time in a driving simulator. Jour of Vision 2002;2:632.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Bédard MB, Parkkari M, Weaver B, Riendeau J, Dahlquist M. Assessment of driving performance using a simulator protocol: Validity and reproducibility. Am J Occup Ther 2010;64:336-340.  Back to cited text no. 12
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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