The number of aging truck drivers across the country is likely to increase over the next few years as more truck drivers retire, amid a shortage of younger truck drivers to fill their vacant positions. Older drivers face numerous driving challenges, especially with flexibility and gross motor activities. A new study finds that exercise programs that specifically focus on range of motion and coordination, could help sharpen and hone driving skills.
The study was conducted on a group of senior motorists. Earlier, researchers found that these motorists faced challenges in three key driving areas. They found it difficult to look for blind spot rights behind their car by turning their upper bodies, turning their heads and necks to scan their driving environment while driving, and getting in and out of the car.
A group of seniors between the age of 60 and 74 was recruited as part of the controlled study, and they were armed with physical fitness programs that specifically focused on flexibility, range of motion, coordination and strength training. They exercised for approximately 20 minutes daily, and the exercise programs continued over 10 weeks. At the end of the fitness program, the seniors’ driving skills were gauged using a driving simulator, in lab tests as well as on special tests designed by the MIT AgeLab.