Published: 2016-12-25

Comparison of brake reaction time in younger and older drivers

J. Ashok, V. Suganthi, I. Vijayalakshmi


Background: Reaction time (RT) is the time taken for an individual to respond to a stimulus. Brake reaction time is the time taken for the driver to visualize an object and to press the brake pedal. BRT should be assessed in drivers for analysing their speed of mental processing and physical response. Objective of the study is to assess the BRT in male drivers and compare BRT between younger and older drivers.

Methods: Male drivers between age groups of 18-65 years were included. Study is conducted in a stationary car. An in-house built; vehicle braking reaction timer is fixed to the electric circuit of the braking system in the car. The device is connected with laptop. The subject is instructed to press the brake pedal when the light changed.

Results: The correlation between BRT and age was found to be negative in less than 55 years age group, the R value is found to be -0.094. Above the age group of 55 years there was a positive correlation, the R value was found to be +0.458.

Conclusions: The decrease in BRT in <55 years age group could be due to the experience/training, which has increased the driving skills and speed of processing.


Brake reaction time, Older drivers, Younger drivers, Reaction timer, Stationery car

Full Text:



Narhare P, Chaitra B, Maitri V. A Comparative study of choice reaction time in young males and females, NJIRM. 2012;3(5):84-8.

Zhang L, Baldwin K, Munoz B, Munro C, Turano K, Hassan S, Lyketsos C, Bandeen-Roche K,West SK. Visual and cognitive predictors of performance on brake reaction test: salisbury eye evaluation driving study. Ophthalmic Epidimiol. 2007;14(4):216-22.

Hofmann UK, Jordan M, Rondak I, Wolf P, Kluba T, Ipach I. Osteoarthritis of the knee or hip significantly impairs driving ability (cross-sectional survey). BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014;15:20.

Kelsey R, Thompson, BA, Amy M. Johnson, MS, Jamie L. Emerson, BA, Jeffrey D. Dawson, ScD, Erwin R. Boer and Matthew Rizzo, MD, Distracted driving in elderly and middle-aged drivers, Accid. Anal Prev. 2012;45(2):711-7.

Shih S. Using the attention cascade model to probe cognitive aging. Psychol Aging. 2009;24(3):550-62.

Spalding TJW, Kiss J, Kyberd P, smith AT and Simpson AHRW. Driver reaction times after total knee replacement. J Bone Joint Surg. 1994;76-B(5):754-6.

MacDonald W, Owen JW. The effect of total hip replacement on driving reactions. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1988;70(2):202-5.

Singh R, Pentland B, Hunter J, Provan F, Parkinson's disease and driving ability, J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007;78(4):363-6.

Chandraratna S, Stamatiadis N. Problem driving maneuvers of elderly drivers. Transportation research record. J Transport Res Board. Volume 1843. DOI: 10.3141/1843-11

Zhang L, Baldwin K, Munoz B, Munro C, Turano K, Hassan S. Visual and cognitive predictors of performance on brake reaction test: salisbury eye evaluation driving study. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2007;14(4):216-22.

Warshawsky-Livne L, Shinar D. Effects of uncertainty, transmission type, driver age and gender on brake reaction and movement time. J Safety Res. 2002;33(1):117-28.

Dawson JD, Uc EY, Anderson SW, Johnson AM, Rizzo M. Neuropsychological predictors of driving errors in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010;58(6): 1090-6.

Carr D, Jackson TW, Madden DJ, Cohen HJ. The effect of age on driving skills. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992;40(6):567-3.

Glisky EL. Changes in cognitive function in human aging, brain aging: models, methods, and mechanisms. Riddle DR editor. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2007. Section I, Assessing Cognitive Aging. Available at: Accessed on 29 December 2015.

Anderson SW, Aksan N, Dawson JD, Uc EY, Johnson AM, Rizzo M. Neuropsychological assessment of driving safety risk in older adults with and without neurologic disease. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2012;34(9):895-905.