Machine-learning approach to predict on-road driving ability in healthy older people

Yasuharu Yamamoto, Jinichi Hirano, Hiroshi Yoshitake, Kazuno Negishi, Masaru Mimura, Motoki Shino, Bun Yamagata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: In Japan, fatal traffic accidents due to older drivers are on the rise. Considering that approximately half the older drivers who have caused fatal accidents are cognitively normal healthy people, it has been required to detect older drivers who are cognitively normal but at high risk of having fatal traffic accidents. However, a standardized method for assessing the driving ability of older drivers has not yet been established. We thus aimed to identify a new sensing method for the evaluation of the on-road driving ability of healthy older people on the basis of vehicle behaviors. Methods: We enrolled 33 healthy older individuals aged over 65 years and utilized a machine-learning approach to dissociate unsafe drivers from safe drivers based on cognitive assessments and a functional visual acuity test. Results: The linear support vector machine classifier successfully dissociated unsafe drivers from safe drivers with accuracy of 84.8% (sensitivity of 66.7% and specificity of 95.2%). Five clinical parameters, namely age, the first trial of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test immediate recall, the delayed recall of the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure Test, the result of the free-drawn Clock Drawing Test, and maximal visual acuity, were consistently selected as essential features for the best classification model. Conclusion: Our findings improve our understanding of clinical risk factors leading to unsafe driving and may provide insight into a new intervention that prevents fatal traffic accidents caused by healthy older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-495
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 1


  • aged
  • automobile driving
  • distracted driving
  • machine learning
  • support vector machine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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