Project AMM43

Symptom and Environmental Effects in Neurodegenerative Disease on Real-world Driving- SENSOR

We are interested in understanding how the way in which we drive is influenced by the changes in the brain that take place in both healthy ageing and neurodegenerative disease.

We are also interested in which factors influence driving behaviour, such as the local environment and how we navigate.


The proportion of older drivers on the road is projected to increase significantly in future years. Driving is of great importance in maintaining independence in older age, but it is also well established that older adults are at an increased risk for driving collisions, and that these incidents are significantly more likely to be fatal than younger drivers. Understanding therefore how driving behaviours and associated driving performance change within older age is of key interest to public health. This is particularly the case when people develop dementia and it is currently often unclear when people with dementia should stop driving. The SENSOR project investigates how factors related to dementia affect people driving behaviour and how this might inform driving guideleins for ageing and dementia.

Project Aims

Primary objectives:

  • To understand how cognitive changes influence driving behaviour in ageing and prodromal dementia.

Secondary objectives:

  • Exploring which environmental characteristics may lead to particular at-risk driving events in individuals with cognitive decline, such as disorientation and road incidents.
  • To use the data in this project to inform evidence-led approaches for improved health policy legislation and community planning for driving safety in prodromal and clinical dementia.
  • Understanding how changes in driving may provide an early cognitive marker for cognitive decline prior to clinical diagnosis.
  • To use the data provided by this project to understand how relevant biomarkers for dementia (MRI/blood/genotype) relate to cognitive changes impacting driving behaviour.

Project Activity

This project is currently recruiting participants.

Anticipated outputs

This project will inform how dementia functional, cognitive, sensor and biomarker information relates to real world driving changes. It will inform future driving guidelines for dementia.

Who is involved?

  • Prof Michael Hornberger (corresponding researcher);
  • Mr Sol Morrissey;
  • Dr. Mizanur Khondoker;
  • Prof. Ed Manley;
  • Dr. Mary Fisher-Morris;
  • Dr. Ian Coyle-Gilchrist;
  • Miss Rachel Gillings