Driving abilities of the elderly will be tested in virtual reality

Driving abilities of the elderly will be tested in virtual reality


From 2025, South Korea will test senior citizens using virtual reality simulators before being released onto the road. The tests will be introduced at the suggestion of the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA), which is concerned about an increase in the number of accidents involving drivers over 65 years old. Moreover, the Koreans decided to completely eliminate the human factor: the decision on admitting the subject to drive a car will be made by the computer.

The test will assess driving skills, cognitive ability and memory using a VR headset, simulating various situations on the road. Now we are talking about two main scenarios: driving during the day and at night. For both cases, there are three sudden events designed to test the subject’s reaction.

In recent years, the number of road accidents involving older drivers has been on the rise in South Korea. The KNPA believes new tests are necessary given the rapidly aging population. So, from 2008 to 2018, the number of Korean retirees with a driver’s license increased by 200 percent – from one to three million people.

At the same time, in South Korea there are still no clear age restrictions for drivers that are introduced in other countries. The only reason they may not be allowed to drive is dementia or another illness that is incompatible with driving. Local law requires drivers aged 75 and over to renew their license every three years.

Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted a study and found that 70-year-old motorists are less likely to be involved in fatal accidents than drivers aged 35-54. Consequently, older drivers are less dangerous on the road.

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