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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Translation and Dissemination of Simulator for Novice Drivers

Project Period: 09/01/2011 – 08/31/2013
Application/Grant Number: 2R44CE001492-02
Principal Investigator: Allen, Wade
13766 South Hawthorne Blvd
Hawthorne, CA 90250


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Traffic accidents are the leading cause of teenage injury and death. This proposal describes a project to translate and disseminate a computer based instructional system developed for driver education that has been shown to reduce the teenage accident rate. The computer based instructional system includes: 1) traditional driver education material; 2) an assessment tool for categorizing a student's risk taking tendencies; 3) components to form and shape the student's attitude about driving safety; 4) a desk top driving simulation to teach critical perceptual, psychomotor and cognitive driving skills. The driving simulation component has already been shown to improve driving skills and reduce accidents in a project sponsored by the CDC. The risk taking element is a Driver Behavior Assessment Tool (DBAT) that has been empirically validated with young military recruits to be predictive of an individual's propensity to be involved in an automobile crash and is used to pro- duce customized training intervention with various multimedia presentations. The implementation of this computer based driver education instructional system includes a software platform designed to simplify the presentation of multimedia course materials and the DBAT and integrate them with the computer simulation. The software platform can launch various multimedia materials (e.g. Power Point, video) and also launch the driving simulation with specific contextually based scenarios that will address particular instructional issues (e.g. speed control, traffic, hazards, situation awareness, etc.). The platform will also present knowledge quizzes, and provide remedial instruction until the student achieves an acceptable score for graduation. The driving simulation scenarios include a range of typical elements (roadway geometry, roadside elements, traffic control devices, traffic and pedestrians), and hazards that are controlled in time and space to require acceptable driver response times for successful completion. The objective of this Phase I SBIR project is to integrate the computer based instructional system including the DBAT and field test it in current high school driver education program. The computer simulation has been used in this program previously, and the instructor has had success in its application with good acceptance by the students. Driving skills and attitudes will be assessed at the beginning and end of the computer based driver education instructional course.