Road accidents are a major social problem, as they are the eighth leading cause of death worldwide. It is also a fact that human factor plays the most important role in the majority of road accidents, as driving requires the ability to receive sensory information, process the information, and to make proper, timely judgments and responses. Impairment of cognitive functions may lead to an increased accident probability.
This post-doctoral research aims to evaluate the safe driving behavior of older drivers with or without a cerebral neurological disease. More specifically, this is an extension of the Ph.D. thesis of Dimosthenis Pavlou, in which a large-scale interdisciplinary experiment was carried out, which included a medical / neurological and neuropsychological evaluation of 225 drivers (healthy drivers, patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment, patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, patients with Parkinson’s Disease, patients with Sleep Disorders, etc.), as well as driving under different conditions in a driving simulator, and the main goal was to explore the impact of neurological condition affecting cognitive functions on different driving parameters. The objective of this post-doctoral research is to continue exploring the research issues of the doctoral thesis in a new dimension, utilizing raw data that have not been analyzed and examining unexplored new scientific areas, such as the assessment of safe driving behavior.
Raw data generated by the experimental process create a multidimensional and multidisciplinary database that includes participants with various brain diseases, which are analyzed with new, original statistical analysis techniques that will include latent variables which determine safe driving behaviour, risk assessment of drivers, identification of the effect of mobile phone use while driving, and investigation of driving behavior of drivers with cerebral diseases before and after an unexpected event. The results of the analyses will be used to examine measures to improve the behavior of older drivers with or without cerebral diseases. The measures to be considered will concern both restrictive measures and information campaigns.