Urban and rural differences in older drivers' failure to stop at stop signs

Lisa Keay, Srichand Jasti, Beatriz Munoz, Kathleen A. Turano, Cynthia A. Munro, Donald D. Duncan, Kevin Baldwin, Karen J. Bandeen-Roche, Emily W. Gower, Sheila K. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Our purpose was to determine visual and cognitive predictors for older drivers' failure to stop at stop signs. 1425 drivers aged between ages 67 and 87 residing in Salisbury Maryland were enrolled in a longitudinal study of driving. At baseline, the participants were administered a battery of vision and cognition tests, and demographic and health questionnaires. Five days of driving data were collected with a Driving Monitoring System (DMS), which obtained data on stop signs encountered and failure to stop at stop signs. Driving data were also collected 1 year later (round two). The outcome, number of times a participant failed to stop at a stop sign at round two, was modeled using vision and cognitive variables as predictors. A negative binomial regression model was used to model the failure rate. Of the 1241 who returned for round two, 1167 drivers had adequate driving data for analyses and 52 did not encounter a stop sign. In the remaining 1115, 15.8% failed at least once to stop at stop signs, and 7.1% failed to stop more than once. Rural drivers had 1.7 times the likelihood of not stopping compared to urban drivers. Amongst the urban participants, the number of points missing in the bilateral visual field was significantly associated with a lower failure rate. In this cohort, older drivers residing in rural areas were less likely to stop at stop-sign intersections than those in urban areas. It is possible that rural drivers frequent areas with less traffic and better visibility, and may be more likely to take the calculated risk of not stopping. In this cohort failure to stop at stop signs was not explained by poor vision or cognition. Conversely in urban areas, those who have visual field loss appear to be more cautious at stop signs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1000
Number of pages6
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Cognition
  • Older drivers
  • Rural
  • Stop signs
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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