Variations in task performance between younger and older drivers: UMTRI research on telematics

  • Published: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2001
  • Authors: P. Green
  • Date Added: 08 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 08 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


To describe the effects of age on driver performance when using telematics, in order to identify what can be done to make telematics products safe and easy to use for older drivers.


Synthesises existing evidence to focus on specific questions pertaining to use of telematics and age differences.

Key Findings:

  • Visual occlusion experiments show that visual demand increases with age, i.e. older drivers need to look at the road more frequently than younger drivers.

  • Older drivers take significantly longer to respond to warnings on head-up displays.

  • Various trials show that older drivers take significantly longer to read displays, with line of sight and size of text influencing the degree of ‘difficulty’ older drivers experience.

  • On the road, older drivers take significantly longer to complete map reading tasks.

  • While parked, older drivers took significantly longer over data entry tasks.If older drivers can safely and easily complete a telematics related task, other drivers should be able to as well.


Older drivers, telematics, distraction, visual occlusion


Slightly dated and the findings are aligned to common perceptions, but this paper adds credibility to the notion that older drivers are less ‘able’ when interacting with telematics.