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J Korean Neurol Assoc. 2018 May;36(2):74-80. Korean. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.17340/jkna.2018.2.2
Lee J , Oh E , Sohn EH , Kim JY , Lee MY , Kim JH , Ko YK , Lee AY .
Department of Neurology, Chungnam National University Hospital, Daejeon, Korea. aelee@cnu.ac.kr
Road Traffic Authority, Daejeon, Korea.
Abstract

Background

A rate of traffic accidents by elderly drivers increased by 70% between 2011 and 2015 in Korea. Elderly drivers with cognitive impairment are more susceptible to be involved traffic accidents than cognitively normal individuals. This study aimed to evaluate the correlation of driving-related cognition and cognitive impairment in drivers over the age of 60 using the standardized program developed by the Road Traffic Authority (RTA).

Methods

Current drivers older than 60 years were recruited for the study. All participants were tested using the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), Rey Complex Figure Test (RCFT)-copy, and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) for cognitive function assessments. The driving aptitude test (DAT) for the elderly developed by RTA consists of 4 different tasks including speed and distance driving tests (SD), visuospatial memory driving tests (VM), sustained attention driving tests (SA), and divided attention driving tests (DA). The participants were divided into two groups by their MMSE score (normal cognition, CN; cognitive impairment, CI).

Results

One hundred fourteen participants were enrolled in the study and 57 of them were assigned to the CI group. In comparison, drivers in CI showed worse scores at DSST, SD, VM, and DA than those in CN. DSST and DA were worsened with increasing age. DSST was the best predictive assessment to be the risk or caution grade in DAT.

Conclusions

We could find a correlation between DAT and cognitive function in drivers over the age 60. These results could be used as the basis of investigating optimal tools for decreasing driving risks in the cognitive impaired elderly.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.