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Mid-America Transportation Center

Assessing and Improving the Cognitive and Visual Driving Fitness of CDL Drivers – Phase III


University of Kansas Medical Center

Principal Investigator
Shelley Bhattacharya
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $128,955
Additional Funding: $24,494
Total Project Cost
$ 153,449
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Brief Description of Research Project
Driving is a highly dynamic task that requires intact cognitive and visual skills to perform safely. Driving commercial vehicles require even more careful planning and consideration to avoid unanticipated shifts in the center of gravity associated with sharp turns while speeding (slushing) associated with sharp braking. Such planning and consideration are highly dependent on cognitive and visual skills for accuracy. In the first year of this proposal, we developed a driving fitness assessment battery that consisted of tests that have been shown in the geriatric literature to be reliable and valid measures of driving-related cognitive and visual skills. In year 2, we began recruitment for CDL drivers over age 18 to: 1. Assess their cognitive and visual fitness, 2. Establish the usefulness and effectiveness of these tests to drivers before embarking on the journey, and 3. Identify potential risk factors that contribute to unsafe driving. We anticipate that this part of the study will be helpful in identifying drivers who have cognitive and/or visual impairments that may make driving a commercial vehicle unsafe. A unique aspect of this part of the study is the possibility of improving driving fitness by offering drivers with demonstrated cognitive and visual deficits the opportunity to retrain and improve such skills in a technologically advanced high fidelity simulator. In Year 3, we plan to begin year 2 testing from our year 1 subjects and start pupillary tracking as a measure of cognitive load.
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Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
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