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Postural support strategies of disabled drivers and the effectiveness of postural support aids
journal contributionposted on 05.11.2007, 17:11 by Clare Lawton, Sharon CookSharon Cook, Andrew MayAndrew May, Keith Clemo, Susan Brown
The paper discusses a series of driving trials that were conducted to investigate postural stability of disabled drivers and to assess the effectiveness of a representative sample of support aids. Twenty-three disabled drivers with varying levels of physical disability and seven non disabled drivers participated in the study. The test car was equipped with transducers to measure vehicle velocity and acceleration (longitudinal and lateral), steering wheel movement and torque, and the bracing forces exerted by the driver on the steering wheel. Video cameras were installed to record postural support strategies and displacement of the driver and to record deviation of the car from the specified path. Subjective data regarding driver attitudes and acceptance were also collected through the administration of questionnaires. Findings from the study showed that support aids significantly improved driving performance and reduced physical exertion to maintain an upright driving position for disabled drivers. However, ergonomics design aspects regarding the ease of use and acceptance of the support aids by the end users were identified as obstacles to their sustained use in everyday driving.