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Technology used to help older drivers stay on the road

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 23 Apr 2012

A team at Newcastle University are developing technology to assist older people continue driving.

Research includes the development of a 'Granny-Nav' that calculates the safest route avoiding right turns and other complex junctions.

Many elderly drivers give up driving because their reaction times have slowed but this can leave them isolated from family and friends. The team, based at Newcastle University hope that technology can be used to aid them and a bespoke sat-nav is the first project.

A mobile laboratory is being used with 20 drivers in their 80's volunteering as test subjects. The hope is that people will be able to continue driving safely for longer and maintain their independence.

Source: Newcastle University

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Posted by sussamb on Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:47 pm Reply with quote

While I appreciate many elderly drivers want to continue driving there are far too many convinced they are still safe to drive who in all honesty shouldn't be on the road. I can't see that this device would do anything more than further encourage those who really should give up to keep on driving!

Where there's a will ... there's a way.

Posted by avdl1999 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:22 pm Reply with quote

Amen to that! Not Worthy

How about retesting them on the rules of the road?

Posted by M8TJT on Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:31 pm Reply with quote

Hang on a bit. Which age group has more accidents?

Posted by DennisN on Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:26 pm Reply with quote

Hmm. I'm not yet in my eighties, so I can happily go along with sussamb. Especially after one day last week when I hurtled up the inside lane of the motorway at 60mph to get the shock of my life coming up on some old guy in the middle lane doing no more than 50!! I'm afraid I slightly road raged him by slowing down and pulling behind him flashing my headlights five or six times before pulling out to overtake him - but I'd had to pull across from lane one to lane three to pass him. Quite naughty of me - I usually don't bother, or just give them a quick flash to wake them up (if they happen to notice they have a rear-view mirror!), then pull out to overtake, but this guy was going so slowly it made me angry! A Granny-Nav would not help him avoid right turns or complexity on motorways, the safest roads available, would it?

I did long ago persuade an elderly lady neighbour to give up driving (after she took me out to demonstrate her confusion at being told by a traffic cop that she had done something wrong - when she showed me how she drove round the keep left bollard (coming off a roundabout) from the right, I slightly wet myself!! Not so much from the keep left/right thing, but the way she drove down the road to get there). It turned out she was in the early stages of dementia. I was able to persuade her by the fact that she was only driving to and from the local restaurant for lunch every day and I convinced her a daily taxi was far cheaper than running a car. But until you make us all go through a proper medical when we renew our licences at 70 and over, that will continue to be a problem. We are unlikely to voluntarily admit to any physical or mental condition which would stop us driving (and how many perfectly fit young people have eyesight problems?). I'm afraid this is a situation which does now call for government intervention, nanny state, like it or not! Introduce compulsory annual medical/mental tests at age 70, or even younger, probably 65 and bring down the licence renewal to that age too. Gives us a problem of course, who's paying for it?

But I wonder what the outcome might be of asking us to retest on the rules of the road - this morning an impatient "young" (-er than me, aren't they all?) man pulled out of traffic to pass us all on the wrong side of a bollard too. And I do feel quite annoyed by those who on our estate roads seem to think they can pass a line of parked cars without letting me go in the opposite direction on my clear side of the road. I blocked one once and explained that "Do not overtake unless the road is clear" meant he also shouldn't be overtaking parked cars in that circumstance. 'Course, he was in a P reg whatever with a wide pipe going Brrrrm, Brrrrm! I heard someone in authority once saying that there is no longer such a rule of the road as "Right of way" - what stupidity!! Most older drivers learned to drive when right of way still applied. Rolling Eyes

By the way, the age group which has most accidents is the age group to which I don't belong - presumably the same applies to all the rest of you! Very Happy

And right now, I'm convinced I'm fit to drive safely - I hope I'll be competent to decide when to give it up, but YOU have to hope somebody will stop me if the time comes.


Where there's a will .... there's a wake.

Posted by avdl1999 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:39 pm Reply with quote

Great post Dennis!

So many incidents I've witnessed that you describe.

The biggest problem is driving at 30/35 in a 60 single carriageway. If they are unaware of what speed they should be doing where and when, what else are they not observing??

No amount of University types giving them 'gadgets' which they probably won't know how to use anyway, is going to help.

"But until you make us all go through a proper medical when we renew our licences at 70 and over, that will continue to be a problem."

This is ultimately the way forward. I would also suggest a refresher test/course too.

Posted by 253 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:58 pm Reply with quote

Cracking post Dennis, and you highlight problems at either end of the age scale.
Trouble is that driving faults lay at everyone's door (except me - Laughing Out Loud) and not confined to a single particular group.

Triumph Tbird 1700. And now a Bonnie T100 as well.

Posted by DennisN on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:03 pm Reply with quote

And did anyone see that telly program where they had a few drivers re-sit their tests with a former driving test examiner - I'm sure more failed than passed. avdl1999 I dare you! Twisted Evil

By the way, we see lots of reports of people leaving school illiterate. Any idea how they manage to get a driving licence?


Where there's a will .... there's a wake.

Posted by mikealder on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:47 pm Reply with quote

Manditory retest every driver every five years, this gets around the age related discrimination and will remove a fair few idiots from the road at the same time irrespective of their age. I don't see age being much of an issue with the exception of situational awareness and reaction times, although these two factors are directly connected.

Putting high tech in to car driven by someone who is getting to their limit in terms of situational awareness will have a negative effect for road safety, having spare mental capacity to work out what the "tech" is telling them to do isn't an answer for overal road safety IMHO - Mike

Posted by Border_Collie on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:42 pm Reply with quote

avdl1999 said 'The biggest problem is driving at 30/35 in a 60 single carriageway. If they are unaware of what speed they should be doing where and when, what else are they not observing'??

What speed should they be doing?

There's a 60mph single carriageway close to my home where I usually drive at between 20 and 25 mph. (30mph max).

My 69th Birthday is approaching so I guess I'll be OK until next year when I reach my 70th and then I'll go to pot and get kicked off the road.

Insurance companies know the statistics and how bad us 'oldies' are because this year my insurance is costing another 3p per week. Very Happy

Formerly known as Lost_Property
And NO that's NOT me in the Avatar.

Posted by C1man on Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:42 am Reply with quote

It's my birthday today Laughing but am still nearer 70 than 80 (and drive a 6.5m 'van - often towing my C1 behind it Shocked ) and agree with everything Dennis has said.

Navigon on Android mobile(s) & tablet
Navigon 4350max + POI-Warner

Posted by DennisN on Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:47 am Reply with quote

C1man Wrote:
It's my birthday today
Happy Birthday! Now put your keys on the sideboard and go get your slippers and woolly shawl. Very Happy


Where there's a will .... there's a wake.

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