Mature drivers are at risk for driving accidents and injuries due to the health declines that accompany aging. However, suddenly having to stop driving causes isolation. Isolation can lead to increased risk of dementia, as well as poor physical and mental health outcomes. It also reduces the ability to participate in social, physical, or other activities.
SENSE-MD means Sensor Networks for Safe and Engaged Mature Drivers. The SENSE-MD project aims to provide a solution for a key missing element in the current driver assessment regime. This element is knowledge about changes in risk and driving capacity, derived from actual driving data. Clinical assessments are infrequent and do not directly measure skills required for driving. However, lack of knowledge related to driving skills could be related to early driving “retirement”.
BENEFITS OF THE SENSE-MD PROJECT
The SENSE-MD Project aims to bring objective and relevant information about risk to older drivers and their chosen driver safety team members. The overall goal of the project is to extend driving activities for as long as safely possible, and inform drivers when they should reduce, restrict, or stop driving. Having access to information about accident risk or other safety incidents (such as becoming lost) has various benefits. Benefits include learning when you should take driving refresher courses and what kinds of weather, traffic, or road series pose the greatest risk. Information about driving risks also helps recognize trends in driving performance and understand your risk of accidents or incidents. Moreover, being aware of changes in performance early on will empower drivers to take steps to improve their driving skills. They can then put strategies in place to minimize risk while continuing to drive for as long as safely possible.
The SENSE-MD project addresses the NRC Connection Pillar and offers a technology-based solution. This solution will provide information on changes in driver risk. This risk information can be shared with the mature driver, their family, caregivers, or others supporting them. The information is however only shared with people other than the mature driver if the driver decides to do so. That is, the driver can decide who they want to share the information with.