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If we are to carry out this policy, it would seem most important to learn more about accidents to older workers, of which falls are a major category.
Mr. Chairman, I have burdened you with more statistics than are perhaps necessary. This is an occupational hazard of Department of Labor employees.
I do, however, trust that these have given you some further assurance that you are directing your attention to a problem of massive proportions.
No one can say for certain to what extent the problem can be diminished.
However, it seems to me that we have every reason to hope that it will. To cite a possibility, I can conceive that 15 years from now, Americans will look back at the problem of motor vehicle accidents today much as we look back at the epidemics of influenza and cholera which once took uch a toll of life in an earlier America.
It may be we are poised here at the beginning of a great new branch of medicine, of science, and of the art of controlling man's environment.
If that proves to be the case, the Nation will be permanently in your debt.
Thank you very much.
We appreciate your statement and especially I appreciate the complimentary remarks you made about the work of our subcommittee.
It is an area where frustration is the rule and not the exception. It is heartwarming to hear a person of your experience and stature express an opinion that we are some day going to find some answers in this field.
This is the second quorum call and I would like to continue this afternoon with the hearing.
I know you are very busy and I am not going to ask you to come back for questions, but I will try to get permission for the subcommittee to sit here this afternoon.
We will try to resume our hearing at 2 o'clock in the same hearing room.
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION BY
MERRILL J. ALLEN, Ph. D. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Merrill James Allen. I am professor of optometry at Indiana University, with the faculty of which I have been associated since the division of optometry was formed in 1953.
I am a native of Texas, obtained my preoptometric education at Texas University and my professional education in optometry at Ohio State University. I was awarded my bachelors degree in 1941, masters degree in 1943, and Ph. D. in 1949, all from Ohio State University. My education was interrupted by 2 years of duty in the Navy, first as a seaman second class and later as ensign and lieutenant (j.g.). I now hold the rank of lieutenant commander, U.S. Naval Reserve.
During the past 4 years I have been engaged in research under a Public Health Service grant to study children's vision and a 5-year Air Force contract to study certain accommodation problems of vision. In 1960 I conducted a 1-year study for the Air Force on visual performance and high luminosity connected with various ophthalmic filters. Last year I was appointed director of research for the American Optometric Foundation motorists night vision research grant to Indiana University.
In addition to my membership in the American Optometric Association, I am a member of the American Academy of Optometry, the Association for Research in Ophthalmology, the American Association of University Professors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I have designed marketable instruments for vision testing, teaching, and recording. I have authored more than 65 articles dealing with various aspects of visual research which have been published. My activities include lecturing and television appearances in this country and one for the Canadian Broadcasting Co. Much of my time has been devoted to research in the field of accident prevention, particularly that have ing to do with automobile accidents.
My appearance is on behalf of the American Optometric Association. Last year y. Eugene McCrary, 0.D., now a trustee of that association, testified in support of a similar bill with the same number, then pending before the 87th Congress. His testimony is available to this committee and I shall not repeat it.
Our association's interest in accident prevention covers practically the entire period of its existence. At the present time it has committees dealing with the subiects of occupational vision, which is particularly concerned with accident prevention in industry, a committee on visual problems in aeronautics and space, another on visual problems of children and youth, and also the committee on motorists vision and highway safety which is vitally concerned with the visual problems which confront the motorist. Our activities in this particular field have been outstanding and in 1960 the association received the United States Chamber of Commerce Award for Public Service Activity by Associations, based upon our contribution to traffic safety.
Like many national organizations, the wives of our members have organized what is known as the auxiliary. This group has collected money, conducted educational programs and jointly with the All State Foundation, conducted three colloquia at Michigan State University, the first in 1960, the second in 1961 and the third last year. All of these have been well attended and publicly acclaimed for the contribution to highway safety as affected by vision.
We have a six-point program which, if fully developed, should greatly reduce the terrific toll of life, physical suffering, and property damage resulting from the use of motor vehicles on our highways. Before outlining this program, let me assure you that only a very small percentage of the individual automobile drivers will be denied their licenses. Our premise is based upon the education of the driver, an adequate examination of his visual capabilities with correction where it is needed, the improvement of the vehicle, its lighting both interior and exterior, and road markers. Specifically, the six points in our program are
1. Driver education and licensing.
3. The effect of alcohol, pep pills, tranquilizers, and antihistomines on the driver's vision.
4. The effect of speed and fatigue on vision.
6. The effect of aging. In some of these fields considerable work has been undertaken but in others it is largely in the planning stage. In all of them further work remains to be done. Only last December the Journal of the American Optometric Association carried a series of articles which included “Survey of Research Pertaining to Motorists Vision" by Sidney A. Mintz, 0.D., a member of President Kennedy's Traffic Safety Committee and also the association's committee on motorists vision and highway safety; also one of my articles on “Certain Visual Aspects of the Average American Automobile"-report of a study conducted under the American Optometric Foundation motorists night vision research grant to Indiana University. These two articles and the editorial concerning them, I would respectfully suggest be made a part of the hearing sof this committee. Last December Time magazine did me the honor of devoting a column in its December 21 issue pertaining to my studies on automobile design as related to vision.
Another one of my articles appeared in the February 1963 issue of the American Journal of Optometry and Archives of the American Academy of Optometry. This has to do with “Visual Environment for Daytime Driving - Daytime Automobile Windshield and Dash Panel Characteristics. I have a copy of this article, which I will leave with the committee for such use as they may desire to make of it.
I have also brought with me Bulletin 336 of the Highway Research Board entitled “Night Visibility,” 1962, published by the National Academy of Science - National Resear h Council. You will note that seven members of the committee are members of the optometric family and three of them are members of faculties of our schools and colleges of optometry. Another is a former chairman of the association's committee on motorists' vision and highway safety. You gentlemen might be interested in the articles entitled "Lenses for Night Driving." “Vision at Levels of Night Road Illumination” and “Transient Adaptation of the Eyes of a Motorist."
Three great areas of research in the visual aspects of motoring need to be pur-sued.
First is the matching of man and machine for optimum performance. Auto vehicles are the way they are, from the visual engineering standpoint, because there has been inadequate communication between the vision laboratory and the automobile manufacturers. Instrument panels are poorly displayed, improperly lighted, and beset with glare objects. Windshields include distortion, some absorb too much light, and some have annoying internal reflection most visible at night. Most provide unneeded glare from adjacent surfaces that are too highly reflective, and some permit unnecessary sky glare. The obstructions to vision of the high way scene are amazing, and include corner posts, steering wheels, rear view mirrors, exaggerated front body contours, lowered side door tops, severe distorton, and a multiplicity of accessories such as compass, baby shoes, religious figurines, fox tails, cottonballs, etc. etc.
The position of the eyes in the car varies from some drivers peering beneath the steering wheel to others crouching to see below the top of the windshield. In addition, the option is permitted of sitting with one's head practically touching the left door, so that the left corner post is almost in the center of the field of view..
The second area is the evaluation of signal and running lights from the point of view of information content, confusion, the possibility of actual accident causation from unsuspected faults inherent in the present system, and the problems of poor atmospheric visibility.
The third area is that concerned with the human element in driving. This. includes research into the problems of poor vision, monotony, fatigue, hypnotic effects, distractions, and the qualifications for driving day or night. The human variable on the highway cannot be overlooked, and though much is known, much more work needs to be done.
At the present time much emphasis is being directed nationally toward simulators that provide opportunities to study the entire driving situation. This needs to be done, as it represents a possible sophistication over the step-by-step laboratory approach. However, before total driving simulators can be of real use, they must be based on a sophisticated automobile that has been corrected for its known visual faults as learned from simple laboratory experiments. To use a simulator based on our present driving equipment is merely a costly and difficult attempt to reproduce the simple laboratory experiments, many of which have already been done, and their result could be applied directly to driving.
We at Indiana University Division of Optometry are programing simulation experiments at the present time to study fog lighting problems among others. These experiments are not contaminated by an effort at total simulation of the driving act; hence, the data are easily analyzed and cheaply obtained. Other studies underway, also supported by the American Optometric Foundation, include the influence of chromostereopsis on night distance judgment, windshield distortion, dash panel visibility, auxiliary lighting for increasing, night driving visibility and improved signals for fog.
We have neither the funds nor the manpower to undertake research in the areas of total simulation nor in many of the problem area topics mentioned in the preceding six paragraphs. People are being killed every day because of insufficient research on the visual aspects of driving and the proper application of that research.
characteristics of the population as measured on Pents have been built and are being used routinely in is of driving age. So far the few results obtained show would predict, and even show some correlations with a-bed of these people. Figure 8 is the questionnaire is a number value which is used in totaling the i data is expected in the next few months, further ut the present time.
MARY AND CONCLUSIONS -te presented to show that this instrument is capable of the several factors that can increase the need for
The 10 percent contrast test letters perhaps best sults often encountered at night. The 20/40 level is jaments of most drivers' licensing agencies. The se jetters can be recognized with an optimum visual c from those being contemplated and actually used ri. Even a moderate visual impairment will likely
illumination required to see a low contrast object .mounts above those currently available. s ostigators and from the data presented here, one timum visual apparatus can perform satisfactorily
fitions for drivers visual acuity testing provide rest and cannot be expected to indicate poor night
lif a person barely passes the regular 20/40 test, sios visual performance at night, whatever may be
odter, M.D., Transmission of the Ocular Media. Jo. MRL-TDR-62–34, Wright-Patterson Air 1'so in Investigative Ophthalmology, vol. 1,
The Variation With Age of the Spectral TransCrystalline Lens, Gerontologia, vol. 3, No. 4, pation and Age, Transactions Illuminating 20, No. 2, 1961, pp. 95–100. ? Visibility, Doctoral Dissertation, Rijksuni
Vight Driving, Journal of the American 3 October 1960, pp. 211-214. Tutings for Roadway Lighting, Preprint
Lille, N.C., 1962, p. 9. in Seeing Problems, American Journal of mi'11 Academy of Optometry, November