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Age-Correlated Operator Performance: Lessons and Insights from Automobile Drivers

Transportation Safety in the Digital Age
Roundtable 1

Held June 21, 2011

Limitations or failures in human performance cause as many as 85 percent of transportation-related deaths. Among a host of emerging issues in this area, the topic of performance limitations of inexperienced and aging drivers is increasingly demanding attention on a national level.

This roundtable analyzed and explored driver performance limitations at both ends of the driver age spectrum. Motor vehicle fatalities, injuries and accidents are disproportionately high in these two groups. Invited participants had the opportunity to discuss the following areas of inquiry:

  • What do the demographics of the driving public and transportation operator look like now and into the future? What have states and companies been doing to adapt to these trends?
  • With respect to age, which driver populations are at risk for safety and healthy-related incidents and problems and by how much? What does that risk look like? What are the mediating variables that makes a person in one of these categories more or less at risk?
  • What is the relationship between experience and age-related attributes and conditions in maintaining safe performance and resiliency to handle off-normal situations effectively?
  • What approaches/developments in technology are there and which are needed to augment and/or support safety and performance? What mediating factors need to be considered in the proper adaption to and trust of these new technologies?
  • What evidence is there, if any, regarding justification for moving away from a prescriptive approach to age limitations toward a performance/testing approach for maintaining licenses and certifications? What additional infrastructure or technology would be needed and is it already developed?
  • What additional information or research is needed to inform this discussion? Is this happening now (and if so, where)? If not, what are possible opportunities to gather it?

Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013