Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Driver Rehabilitation in Parkinson’s Disease Using a Driving Simulator

Uc, E.Y.; Rizzo, M.; Anderson, S.W.; Lawrence, J.; DAWSON, J.

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) impairs driving performance. In this pilot study, four drivers with PD (selected based on poor road driving performance in the past) participated in a rehabilitation program using a driving simulator. Two different training drives (#1- multiple intersections of varying visibility and traffic load, where an incurring vehicle posed a crash risk, #2- various scenarios on decision making, hazard perception and response) were administered in each session (total 3 sessions once every 1-2 weeks) with immediate feedback after the drives. We observed reduction in crashes in drive #1 and improved scores on drive #2 in the simulator. In addition, three subjects showed marked improvements intheir total error counts on a standard road test between baseline and post-training sessions, one subject stayed stable. These findings suggest that our simulator training program is feasible and potentially useful in impaired drivers with PD.