Assessment of driving-related performance in chronic whiplash using an advanced driving simulator

Hiroshi, Takasaki, Julia, Treleaven, Venerina, Johnston, Rakotonirainy, Andry, Haines, Andrew and Gwendolen, Jull (2013) Assessment of driving-related performance in chronic whiplash using an advanced driving simulator. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 60 5-14. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2013.07.033

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Author Hiroshi, Takasaki
Julia, Treleaven
Venerina, Johnston
Rakotonirainy, Andry
Haines, Andrew
Gwendolen, Jull
Title Assessment of driving-related performance in chronic whiplash using an advanced driving simulator
Journal name Accident Analysis and Prevention   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0001-4575
Publication date 2013-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.aap.2013.07.033
Open Access Status
Volume 60
Start page 5
End page 14
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
• Driving performance was compared between individuals with whiplash and controls.
• A driving simulator was used with freeway, residential and city scenarios.
• Whiplash subjects had inferior overall driving performance but not unsafe driving.
• Divided attention tasks while driving were not impaired in whiplash subjects.
• Driving with whiplash is not sufficiently impaired to question fitness to drive.

Driving is often nominated as problematic by individuals with chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD), yet driving-related performance has not been evaluated objectively. The purpose of this study was to test driving-related performance in persons with chronic WAD against healthy controls of similar age, gender and driving experience to determine if driving-related performance in the WAD group was sufficiently impaired to recommend fitness to drive assessment. Driving-related performance was assessed using an advanced driving simulator during three driving scenarios; freeway, residential and a central business district (CBD). Total driving duration was approximately 15 min. Five driving tasks which could cause a collision (critical events) were included in the scenarios. In addition, the effect of divided attention (identify red dots projected onto side or rear view mirrors) was assessed three times in each scenario. Driving performance was measured using the simulator performance index (SPI) which is calculated from 12 measures. 𝓏-Scores for all SPI measures were calculated for each WAD subject based on mean values of the control subjects. The 𝓏-scores were then averaged for the WAD group. A 𝓏-score of ≤−2 indicated a driving failing grade in the simulator. The number of collisions over the five critical events was compared between the WAD and control groups as was reaction time and missed response ratio in identifying the red dots.

Seventeen WAD and 26 control subjects commenced the driving assessment. Demographic data were comparable between the groups. All subjects completed the freeway scenario but four withdrew during the residential and eight during the CBD scenario because of motion sickness. All scenarios were completed by 14 WAD and 17 control subjects. Mean 𝓏-scores for the SPI over the three scenarios was statistically lower in the WAD group (−0.3 ± 0.3; P < 0.05) but the score was not below the cut-off point for safe driving. There were no differences in the reaction time and missed response ratio in divided attention tasks between the groups (All P > 0.05). Assessment of driving in an advanced driving simulator for approximately 15 min revealed that driving-related performance in chronic WAD was not sufficiently impaired to recommend the need for fitness to drive assessment.
Keyword Attention
Automobile driving
Chronic pain -- Physical therapy
Computer simulation
Task performance
Whiplash injuries
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 17 Sep 2013, 21:20:37 EST by Dr. Hiroshi Takasaki on behalf of Physiotherapy