Translation and Dissemination of Simulators for Novice Drivers

Period of Performance: 09/01/2012 - 08/31/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systems Technology, Inc.
13766 Hawthorne Blvd. Array
Hawthorne, CA 90250
Principal Investigator


PROJECT SUMMARY Traffic accidents are the leading cause of teenage injury and death. This Phase II 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) tradi- tional driver education material to form and shape the student's attitude about driving safety;2) a desk top driving simulation to teach critical perceptual, psychomotor and cognitive driving skills;3) a user interface that allows selection of lesson plans, presents quizzes on multimedia educational material and stores and displays simulator driving performance. The driving simulation component has already been shown to improve driving skills and reduce accidents in a project sponsored by the CDC with California novice drivers. The implementa- tion of this computer based driver education instructional system includes a software platform designed to simplify the presentation of multimedia course materials. The software platform can launch various multime- dia 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, hazard perception, situation awareness, decision making and action). The platform will also present knowledge quizzes, and provide suffi- cient instruction for the student to achieve an acceptable score for graduation. The driving simulation scena- rios 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 II SBIR project is to integrate the computer based in- structional system driving simulation in current high school and community college driver education pro- grams. This is a longitudinal study design that will compare the accident experience of simulator trained driv- ers with a closely matched control group of teenagers not receiving simulator training. The computer simula- tion has been used by an instructor in the preceding Phase I study who 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.