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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Age and Driving

Vision changes related to aging is associated with reduction in the size of the all important “field of view”. This can make older drivers especially dangerous behind the wheels.

Younger drivers, particularly those younger than 18 have an elevated risk of crashing. Teenagers are at significant risk on the road not just because they lack both the judgment that comes with maturity and the skill that comes with experience.

Anatomically, teenagers have an underdeveloped dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that involves decision-making and the ability to understand consequences.

More importantly, we drive the way we do because of our brains, which start off immature, pass through an all-too-brief peak and, often, descend slowly into decrepitude.

See January 2010 issue of Scientific American.

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