Philadelphia Inquirer Feature Spotlights Driving Safety Studies

Philadelphia Inquirer Feature Spotlights Driving Safety Studies

Flaura Winston and Catherine McDonald's Simulated Driving Assessment System

LDI Senior Fellows Flaura Winston and Catherine McDonald's teenage driving safety studies using a computerized Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) system  are the subject of an extensive Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Adolescent injury prevention researchers Flaura Winston and Catherine McDonald

Custom-built by the researchers' team at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the system includes a driver's seat, steering wheel, dashboard and wrap-around computer screen "windows" that create an operating environment much like that of an aircraft cockpit simulator.

The September 6  Sunday print version of the Inquirer article included a page-spanning photo of the simulator that took up nearly the entire top of the "Health" section's front page.

Teenage driving errors
The simulator, which includes goggles to track the subjects' eye movements and multiple cameras recording all other movements including feet-operated  pedals, has been generating data for a a series of studies documenting the inadequate skills and common errors made by newly licensed teenage drivers.

The latest study, Simulated Driving Assessment for Teen Drivers: Results From a Validation Study," was published in the June edition of the journal, Injury Prevention.

Moving beyond research
In the Inquirer article, Winston notes that the team hopes to push  the simulator concept out to schools, test centers and other venues concerned with safe driving. 

"We don't want to keep it as a research project," Winston told the Inquirer, "We want to help people to be better drivers." 

Winston, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and the Scientific Director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP. McDonald, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at Penn's School of Nursing and a researcher at the CHOP Injury Research and Prevention Center.