By on November 16, 2010

Because driving is one of the freedoms Americans take most seriously, the government faces fundamental challenges to any attempt to reduce traffic fatalities. As the Secretary of Transportation’s crusade against distracted driving proves, raising awareness does nothing until the market has as much incentive to fix the problem as contribute to it. Luckily, when it comes to the problem of out-of-control elderly drivers, the free market seems ready to offer an actual solution: video games. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society [PDF here] indicates that cognitive training for seniors can actually make a major impact on elderly accident rates.

The study of 908 motorists aged 65 or older was conducted by giving one group memory training, one group reasoning training and one group speed-of-processing training and comparing the occurrence of accidents to a control group. The result: memory training had few effects on the number of at-fault vehicle crashes, reasoning training had a moderate effect and speed-of-processing had the greatest effect (see above). The study used software from Posit Science including DriveSharp and InSight, both of which bill themselves as a mix of brain-building and entertainment. Unfortunately, one of the authors of the study owns stock in Posit Science, so there is definitely some conflict of interest involved in the study. Our suggestion: let’s run it again, only this time let’s see if regular Nürburgring laps in Gran Tourismo does as well at improving senior driving performance.

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6 Comments on “The Cure For Driving While Elderly: Video Games?...”

  • avatar

    Obviously, elderly drivers need to spend time in one of these on a regular basis. I suggest ten sites per state.
    *looks away and whistles innocently*

  • avatar

    Better idea. Put them in a race car on a road course and let them have fun. About an hour a week should do. I’d certainly be willing.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t work in lynx, damn yankees, hell with it. Where’s my toast? I mean what the hell?

  • avatar

    Be careful what you wish for.
    If states employed computer driver simulation tests that also measured some level of aggressive impulse (the bureaucratic witch hunt of the day) then some young drivers might get restricted licenses or fail altogether due to their anti-social tendencies as simulated behind the wheel.
    The DMV might even pull up your social networking habits where our young driver proudly boasts how much they enjoy violent driving mayhem video games.

    • 0 avatar

      Young people (I’m 65) are already learning the hard way that publishing their transgressions on social networking web sites can have unpleasant consequences. Take a hint from the people with concealed carry permits who need to avoid letting others know they are armed. Keep a low profile! What nobody else knows can’t be used against you.

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