Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Study: Older Drivers Less Likely to Notice Street-Side Pedestrians
A new study published by the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention found that drivers over 65 were half as likely to notice pedestrians near or moving toward the street as were experienced drivers between the ages of 28 and 45. Compared to younger drivers simulating a drive through a variety of streetscapes, those over 65 tapped on their brakes in response to a "roadside hazard" about half as often, suggesting either that they did not see it or that they did not consider it something they needed to attend to. Pedestrians who were not in an older driver's central field of vision often went unnoticed, the authors noted. The good news is that the older drivers drive about 20% more slowly -- perhaps to compensate for shortcomings in their peripheral vision and attention. Diminished notice of or attention to items in peripheral vision is a well-documented effect of aging. The Ben-Gurion researchers undertook the study because Israeli drivers over 65 have been involved in a steadily rising rate of accidents involving pedestrians since 1999. Read more.