Driving slow motorised vehicles with visual impairment: An exploration of driving safety

Christina Cordes


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Independent mobility is important for social participation and many people with visual impairment are dependent on the use of slow motorised vehicles. These vehicles are defined as motor vehicles with a maximum speed of 45 km/h (e.g., microcars or mobility scooters). Legal visual standards for the use of these vehicles do not exist. Yet, it is unclear to what extent people with visual impairment can use slow motorised vehicles safely and responsively.

In her PhD research, Christina Cordes investigated the visual and cognitive factors that influence safe traffic participation in microcars and mobility scooters. Driving performance was investigated using a real mobility scooter and a mobility scooter and microcar driving simulator in both normal sighted and visually impaired participants with (very) low visual acuity and/or visual field defects. In addition, a neuropsychological test battery was administered.

Most participants were able to acquire the skills necessary to drive mobility scooters safely in only a short time. Although visually impaired people were evaluated worse on the mobility scooter on-road test compared to normal sighted participants, they performed well enough to be able to participate in traffic safely. Participants with visual field defects appeared to have more difficulties in traffic than people with low visual acuity. The driving simulator tasks further revealed that small obstacles with low contrast posed the greatest risk of collision for visually impaired drivers.

It can be concluded that visual impairment alone cannot determine if someone can safely participate in traffic using slow motorised vehicles. Individual advice is needed, especially for people with visual field defects. People can be trained to compensate for their visual impairments in order to use slow motorised vehicles safely and responsibly, despite their limitations.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Brouwer, Wiebo, Supervisor
  • Brookhuis, Karel, Supervisor
  • Melis-Dankers, Bart, Co-supervisor
  • Heutink, Joost, Co-supervisor
Datum van toekenning29-okt-2018
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-9301-481-7
Elektronische ISBN's978-94-034-1124-8
StatusPublished - 2018

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