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NEW TECHNOLOGY CITED BY NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING FOR IDENTIFYING OLDER DRIVERS AT RISK FOR ACCIDENTS

 NEW TECHNOLOGY CITED BY NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING FOR
 IDENTIFYING OLDER DRIVERS AT RISK FOR ACCIDENTS
 WASHINGTON, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent tragic events involving older drivers and fatal car collisions have Americans deeply concerned about their safety on the highways. On Aug. 17, 1992, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., researchers will exhibit and demonstrate the Visual Attention Analyzer, a revolutionary instrument that measures and expands the Useful Field of View (UFOV), the window of attention which is predictive of accident involvement among older drivers.
 As a diagnostic tool, the Visual Attention Analyzer provides an evaluation of UFOV size by measuring three cognitive functions: Visual processing speed, dividend attention capabilities, and selective attention (or the ability to pick out an object like a street sign in a cluttered environment).
 An initial study by Dr. Karlene Ball (professor of psychology at Western Kentucky University) and Dr. Cynthia Owsley (associate professor of ophthalmology, University of Alabama, Birmingham) documented the reliability of the Visual Attention Analyzer in measuring the ability to focus attention. The UFOV screening accurately identified which older drivers had incurred automobile accidents in nearly 85 percent of the cases.
 "Good clinical vision alone is not sufficient for normal Useful Field of View," said Dr. Ball. "About fifty percent of our subjects had good visual function, yet failed the UFOV test."
 A more recent study, to be presented to the American Psychological Association on Aug. 17, which tested a larger group of older drivers between the ages of 55 and 90 confirmed the UFOV as the most accurate predictor of accidents involving older drivers. This research indicates that older drivers with restricted UFOV are six times more likely to have automobile accidents and 15 times more likely to have accidents in an intersection than drivers without this restriction.
 Additionally, older drivers with restricted UFOV who have trained on the Visual Attention Analyzer demonstrate overall improvements in UFOV of 60 to 300 percent.
 Research is also continuing on the applicability of training for victims of traumatic brain injury or stroke. "We have extremely high hopes for the Visual Attention Analyzer as it relates to the recovery of individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injury or stroke," says Dr. Daniel Roenker, head of research and development at Visual Resources, Inc. "We are currently working with these people and are extremely pleased with the results."
 Research of UFOV and development of the Visual Attention Analyzer have been partially supported by grants from the National Institute of Health, AARP Andrus Foundation and Research to Prevent Blindness through the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.
 Visual Resources, Inc. is a research-based company engaged in the design, development, and marketing of innovative diagnostic and training equipment for the measurement of the visual, cognitive and attentional requirements of driving and other visual activities.
 -0- 7/31/92
 /CONTACT: Kristina Berg, 312-454-0603, or Andrew Hayman, 312-642-6740, of Visual Resources/ CO: Visual Resources Inc. ST: Illinois IN: HEA SU: PDT


SH -- NY052 -- 5702 07/31/92 14:56 EDT
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Date:Jul 31, 1992
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