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Examining the Association Between Age and Tractor Driving Performance Measures Using a High-Fidelity Tractor Driving Simulator

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 27(3): 159-175. (doi: 10.13031/jash.14403) @2021
Authors:   Kayla Faust, Carri Casteel, Daniel V. McGehee, Corinne Peek-Asa, Diane Rohlman, Marizen R. Ramirez
Keywords:   Driving simulation, Perception response time, Senior drivers, Tractor.


This study uses a new tractor driving simulator to examine the impact of age on perception response time in an emergency braking situation.

The results demonstrate increased risk for crash among older farm equipment operators.

Abstract. Transportation-related incidents are the leading cause of occupational fatalities for all industries in the U.S. In the agriculture industry, where tractor-related incidents are the leading cause of occupational fatality, fatal crashes occur more frequently among senior farm equipment operators (FEOs) than younger FEOs. This study examined the association between age and driving performance among FEOs using a simulated driving environment. We demonstrated that older FEOs have longer perception response times when encountering an incurring semi-truck during a simulated drive than younger FEOs. These results persisted when adjusted for selected medical diagnoses and medications, tractor generation, and tractor horsepower. However, due to the small sample size and limitations of the tractor driving simulator, its use for event perception response time research is questionable. The tractor driving simulator used in this study may be better suited for distracted driving studies and studies comparing the ways in which FEOs drive passenger vehicles compared to tractors.

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