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HEADWAY TIME AND CRASHES AMONG NOVICE TEENS AND EXPERIENCED ADULT DRIVERS IN A SIMULATED LEAD TRUCK BRAKING SCENARIO.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
2
The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
3
School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Abstract

Driving simulators can be used to evaluate driving performance under controlled, safe conditions. Teen drivers are at particular risk for motor vehicle crashes and simulated driving can provide important information on performance. We developed a new simulator protocol, the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA), with the goal of providing a new tool for driver assessment and a common outcome measure for evaluation of training programs. As an initial effort to examine the validity of the SDA to differentiate performance according to experience, this analysis compared driving behaviors and crashes between novice teens (n=20) and experienced adults (n=17) on a high fidelity simulator for one common crash scenario, a rear-end crash. We examined headway time and crashes during a lead truck with sudden braking event in our SDA. We found that 35% of the novice teens crashed and none of the experienced adults crashed in this lead truck braking event; 50% of the teens versus 25% of the adults had a headway time <3 seconds at the time of truck braking. Among the 10 teens with <3 seconds headway time, 70% crashed. Among all participants with a headway time of 2-3 seconds, further investigation revealed descriptive differences in throttle position and brake pedal force when comparing teens who crashed, teens who did not crash and adults (none of whom crashed). Even with a relatively small sample, we found statistically significant differences in headway time for adults and teens, providing preliminary construct validation for our new SDA.

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