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A Novel Low-Cost Solution for Driving Assessment in Individuals with and without Disabilities

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Rodseth J1, Washabaugh EP2, Al Haddad A1, Kartje P1, Tate DG1, Krishnan C3.


Brake reaction time is a key component to studying driving performance and evaluating fitness to drive. Although commercial simulators can measure brake reaction time, their cost remains a major barrier to clinical access. Therefore, we developed open-source software written in C-sharp (C#) for measuring driving related reaction times, which includes a subject-controlled vehicle with straight-line dynamics and several testing scenarios. The software measures both simple and cognitive load based reaction times and can use any human interface device compliant steering wheel and pedals. Measures from the software were validated against a commercial simulator and tested for reproducibility. Further, experiments were performed using hand controls in both able-bodied and spinal cord injured patients to determine clinical feasibility for disabled populations. The software demonstrated high validity when measuring brake reaction times, showed excellent test-retest reliability, and was sensitive enough to determine significant brake reaction time differences between able-bodied and spinal cord injured subjects. These results indicate that the proposed simulator is a simple and feasible low-cost solution to perform brake reaction time tests and evaluate fitness to drive.

Resource: Appl Ergon. 2017 Nov;65:335-344.