Abstract

Objective: We explored the association of particular neuropsychological measures to driving behaviors with respect to distraction, as potential predictors of driving errors. Method: We recruited, through advertisements, 100 participants (to date) from the general public who are currently drivers; 52 were healthy and included in the present exploration. Participants drove in a simulator under four different rural driving conditions: low vs. high speed and with vs. without distraction (conversation). Driving variables included: lateral position of the vehicle from the right road border (m), average speed (km/h), average time to collision with vehicle ahead (sec), sudden braking and speed violations (number of times for each). Neuropsychological measures included processing speed (TMT-A), vigilance, visual memory (BVMT), visual working memory (Spatial Addition) and visuospatial perception (JLO). Results: Partial correlations (covariate: age) showed that visual working memory and memory were associated with driving variables in both low (r's = −.33 to −.37) and high speed (r's = .29) no distraction conditions, processing speed with driving variables in both low speed conditions (r's = −.30 to .31), vigilance with both low and high speed distraction conditions (r's = .31 to .32) and visuospatial perception with driving in the high speed distraction condition (r's = −.30). Conclusion(s): Visual memory and working memory influenced driving behavior under no distraction conditions, whereas as vigilance influences driving with distraction. Processing speed played a role in low speed conditions regardless of any distractions. Lastly, visuospatial skills related to high speed driving behaviors with distraction. Larger samples are necessary to clarify whether this pattern is reliable.