European Commission : MOBILITY AND TRANSPORT - Road Safety

The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.


Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can provide personal assistance in a road environment that cannot always take into account the possibilities and limitations of the older driver. An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the older driver has shown that the most important need for support stems from the difficulties that older drivers have to:

  • Judge whether fellow road users are approaching the same intersection and at what speed
  • Notice other road users while merging and changing lanes
  • Notice traffic signs and signals
  • React quickly in a complex traffic situation.

These difficulties stem from functional limitations such as a decrease in motion perception, peripheral vision, flexibility of head and neck, selective attention, and speed of processing information and decision making. ADAS that can compensate for these limitations, can contribute to a reduction of the crash involvement of older drivers. Such ADAS should have one or more of the following functionalities [23]:

  • Draw attention to approaching traffic
  • Signal road users located in the driver's blind spot
  • Assist the driver in directing his attention to relevant information and/or
  • Provide prior knowledge on the next traffic situation [23].

ADAS that have these functionalities could improve the safety of older driversSearch for available translations of the preceding linkIT•••. Examples of such systems are collision warning systems aimed at intersections and in-vehicle signing systems. There are, however, also ADAS that could improve the mobility of the older driverSearch for available translations of the preceding linkIT•••, or may reduce his injury severitySearch for available translations of the preceding linkIT•••. Examples of those systems are vision enhancement systems and mayday systems.

Using ADAS to improve the safety or mobility of the driver involves more than making sure that the supported subtask is carried out safely. It also involves that the support provided does not have any negative effects on the other elements of the driving task. Examples of negative side effectsSearch for available translations of the preceding linkIT••• are increased task load due to a bad design of the human machine interface, and the effects of behavioural adaptation. ADAS that could improve road safety for older drivers.

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