Useful Field of View Predicts Driving in the Presence of Distracters

  • Published: Optom. Vis. Sci.; 89(4), 2012
  • Authors: Wood JM, Chaparro A, Lacherez P and Hickson L.
  • Date Added: 26 Jun 2013
  • Last Update: 26 Jun 2013
  • Format: pdf


To examine whether the effectiveness of the Useful Field of View test in predicting crash risk among older adults is due to the ability of the UFOV to predict difficulties in attention-demanding driving situations that involve either visual or auditory distracters.


92 community-living adults, aged 65-88 years, completed all three subtests of the UFOV test involving assessment of visual processing speed, divided attention, and selective attention. Driving performance was assessed on a closed-road circuit while driving under three conditions: no distracters, visual distracters, and auditory distracters.

Key Findings:

  • UFOV significantly predicted driving performance both in the presence and absence of visual or auditory distracters.

  • UFOV predicted interference in the distracter conditions, such that those who were scored as safe experienced less decrement in driving performance in the presence of distracters than those scored as unsafe.

  • Driving problems caused by visual or auditory distracters are greatest for those who are rated most at risk for crashing overall.

  • Participants who rated as safe on the UFOV, as well as those responding faster than the recommended cut-off on the selective attention subtest (350 msec), performed significantly better in terms of overall driving performance and also experienced less interference from distracters.

  • Of the three UFOV subtests, the selective attention subtest best predicted overall driving performance in the presence of distracters.

  • Older adults who were rated as higher risk on the UFOV, particularly on the selective attention subtest, demonstrated the poorest driving performance in the presence of distracters.

  • This finding suggests that the selective attention subtest of the UFOV may be differentially more effective in predicting driving difficulties in situations of divided attention which are commonly associated with crashes.


Eyesight and Driving, Fitness to Drive