Recent tests showed people with mild Alzheimer’s made more errors on a driving test that required them to follow a route in a new area. Researchers concluded: “The mental demands of following verbal instructions and navigating a new route can compete with drivers’ cognitive resources and potentially impair their driving abilities.”
Combine this discovery with the increasing sophistication of identification technologies (for example, northeast Ohio company Cardinal Commerce partners globally with credit card companies to verify identities of cardholders when the card is not present), and you could imagine a future in which you might take your driver’s tests every year, and if you showed signs of impairment, be assigned a license that would only allow you to drive in certain areas, certain times of the day, etc.
The corresponding technology in the car would make it refuse to start if it was night (if you were only licensed to drive in the day), or say, warn you that you had driven outside your range… “You must turn back into your range. Otherwise, your engine will shut down in 5 minutes.” Then if you didn’t turn around, maybe you’d punch a wireless connection in the dashboard to notify some preprogrammed numbers (your kids or friends) of your location.
Or alternatively, maybe you’d have certain signs or lights flashing in the back of your car based on your driving limitations…
Oh, it sounds pretty horrible. But then, progress sometimes does look that way.