Diabetic Driving Studies—Part 2: A Comparison of Brake Response Time Between Drivers With Diabetes With and Without Lower Extremity Sensorimotor Neuropathy

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Abstract

We have previously demonstrated an abnormally delayed mean brake response time and an increased frequency of abnormally delayed brake responses in a group of neuropathic drivers with diabetes compared with a control group of drivers with neither diabetes nor lower extremity neuropathy. The objective of the present case-control study was to compare the mean brake response time between 2 groups of drivers with diabetes with and without lower extremity sensorimotor neuropathy. The braking performances of the participants were evaluated using a computerized driving simulator with specific measurement of the mean brake response time and the frequency of the abnormally delayed brake responses. We compared a control group of 25 active drivers with type 2 diabetes without lower extremity neuropathy and an experimental group of 25 active drivers with type 2 diabetes and lower extremity neuropathy from an urban U.S. podiatric medical clinic. The experimental group demonstrated an 11.49% slower mean brake response time (0.757 ± 0.180 versus 0.679 ± 0.120 second; p < .001), with abnormally delayed reactions occurring at a greater frequency (57.5% versus 35.0%; p < .001). Independent of a comparative statistical analysis, diabetic drivers with neuropathy demonstrated a mean brake response time slower than a suggested safety threshold of 0.70 second, and diabetic drivers without neuropathy demonstrated a mean brake response time faster than this threshold. The results of the present investigation provide evidence that the specific onset of lower extremity sensorimotor neuropathy associated with diabetes appears to impart a negative effect on automobile brake responses.

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