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Research Article  |   May 2004
Occupational Therapy Assessment of Open-Road Driving Performance: Validity of Directed and Self-Directed Navigational Instructional Components
Author Affiliations
  • Kerry Mallon, BOccThy, Grad.Dip.OccH+S, is Occupational Therapist and Postgraduate Student at the Centre for Eye Research, School of Optometry, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, QLD 4059, Australia; kmallon@optusnet.com.au
  • Joanne M. Wood, BSc (Hons), PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, is Associate Professor at the Centre for Eye Research, School of Optometry, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Article Information
Community Mobility and Driving / Community Living Skills
Research Article   |   May 2004
Occupational Therapy Assessment of Open-Road Driving Performance: Validity of Directed and Self-Directed Navigational Instructional Components
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2004, Vol. 58, 279-286. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.3.279
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2004, Vol. 58, 279-286. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.3.279
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to validate an assessment tool used by occupational therapists to evaluate on-road driving performance.

METHODS. The driving assessment was conducted over a 15-km route that consisted of a range of traffic situations and contained both directed and self-directed navigational instruction. The driving performance of four groups of drivers of different ages and visual characteristics was assessed independently by an occupational therapist and driving instructor using a range of scoring criteria.

RESULTS. The occupational therapist scores were significantly affected by the drivers’ age and visual characteristics (directed navigation, F(3,133) = 6.05, p = 0.001; self-directed navigation, F(3,133) = 5.04, p < 0.002), and these group differences were greater for self-directed navigational instruction. The occupational therapist scores were highly correlated with the driving instructor’s global driver safety rating (r = 0.76, p < 0.001).

DISCUSSION. The driving assessment instrument was a valid measure of on-road driving performance relative to an independent global driving safety evaluation. The instrument provided detailed information regarding driving performance and highlighted areas of difficulty, particularly when drivers followed self-navigational instruction.