Safe driving with early dementia

Currently, about 250 000 people in the Netherlands suffer from dementia. In 2040, their number is expected to have doubled. Research shows that drivers with dementia have an increased risk of crashes, similar to the risk of the use of drugs and medicines in traffic. However, in the early stages of dementia, people can often still drive safely.

Research questions

  1. Is it possible to determine for a longer period of time whether drivers with early dementia can drive safely?
  2. What is the added value of a hazard perception test that records eye movements?
  3. How far can we reliably look ahead in the case of a progressive disease like dementia?
  4. Do these drivers have sufficient insight in their own performance to adapt their behaviour accordingly? And what are the possibilities of providing support through in-vehicle technology (ITS)?


In 2016, a new hazard perception test was developed which also uses an eye-tracker to record viewing behaviour. In 2017 we will start collecting the data. In this 3-year study, a total of 120 drivers with (very) mild dementia and a control group consisting of 40 elderly without dementia are monitored for a period of two years.

All 160 drivers go through the FitCI test procedure three times: at the start of the project, and twice after 6 to 8 months. FitCI (Fitness to drive with Cognitive Impairments) is a national research project in the Netherlands that is aimed at establishing a reliable, valid and rehabilitation-oriented method to determine the fitness to drive with cognitive impairments.

In addition, the practical fitness-to-drive test of the Dutch Driving Test Organisation (CBR) is taken at the start and at the end of the project. Furthermore, the participants have a data recorder with cameras installed in their own car for three two-month periods. We investigate whether the drivers who have had their licence renewed do indeed drive safely during this entire period and whether the renewed hazard perception test can distinguish between elderly with and without dementia and people who do or do not drive safely in everyday traffic.

In 2017, we will also develop a test with an in-vehicle ITS-application that supports the elderly in their driving task.

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Start date: 01 Jan 2017
End date: 31 Dec 2022