University of Leeds Driving Simulator (UoLDS)

Previous research

Impaired Motorists: Methods of Roadside Testing and Assessment for Licensing (IMMORTAL) (impairment)

Funding Organisation: European Union (DGTREN) Fifth Framework

2002-2005

IMMORTAL involved various studies into aspects of fitness to drive. Of particular interest is the performance of impaired drivers, be that impairment from medical condition or by the influence of legal and illegal drugs.

LADS was used in an investigation of the common cold virus and medication to relieve its symptoms on driving performance. The main findings were:

  • Cognitive measures of simple reaction time show that cold sufferers are slower than healthy volunteers.
  • Cognitive measures of visual search time show that cold sufferers are slower than healthy volunteers.
  • Neither cold virus nor medication seems to affect basic driving ability.
  • Secondary tasks such as awareness and reaction times not related to the primary driving task are impaired by medication.
  • Taking medication whilst suffering with a cold may further impair secondary tasks such as awareness and reaction times not related to the primary driving task.
  • Medication labelling should stress that drivers may feel ok to drive, but in-fact be more dangerous and less aware than non-medicated drivers.