Multi Institution Projects Year 2 (2013-2014)

Educating Younger Drivers in the Pacific Northwest Regarding the Dangers of Distracted Driving Phase II

PI: David Hurwitz (OSU),
Co-Investigators: Linda Boyle (UW), Ahmed Abedl-Rahim (UI), Ghulam Bham (UAF), William Cofer (WSU)
Dates: 07/01/2013 – 7/31/2015
Led by: (Oregon State University) Professor David Hurwitz, this project is the PacTrans multi-institution Outreach Project for 2013-2014. (A phase II project, it builds on the successes of the phase I PacTrans multi-institution Outreach Project for 2012-2013.)

Driver distraction can be defined as the diversion of driver attention away from the driving task, and it can result from factors both within and outside of the vehicle (Sheridan, 2004). It can include anything that distracts a driver from the primary task of driving and has been categorized as follows: visual (e.g. reading a map), auditory (e.g., listening to a conversation), biomechanical (e.g., tuning a radio), and cognitive (e.g. ‘being lost in thought,’ and ‘ looking but not seeing’) (Ranney et al., 2000). Most distractions are actually a combination of these, thus it may be more useful to categorize distractions according to the task that drivers are engaged in while driving (rather than the combination of the forms of distractions). For example, cell phones are associated with cognitive, auditory, biomechanical, and potentially, visual distractions. Both the attentional demands placed on the driver by a secondary task and the driver’s willingness to engage in that task contributes to the potential for driver distraction and thus increases the likelihood of crashes (Donmez et al., 2006). A distracted driver may also make riskier decisions. As observed by Cooper et al. (2003), distracted drivers made left hand turns with smaller gap acceptance than drivers who were not distracted. As teenage drivers gain moderate levels of experience, they also tend to have greater crash risks related to driver distraction when compared to drivers in other age groups (Lam, 2002). One proposed explanation for this is that younger drivers appear more willing to accept new technologies and devices than other drivers. As younger drivers become confident in their driving abilities, they tend to overestimate their ability to multitask with these devices while driving (Sarkar and Andreas, 2004). Poysti et al. (2005) also found that young drivers, from 18-to 24 years old, were more likely to use their cell phones while driving than middle aged drivers. The goal of the study is to examine driver distraction among teenagers including what tasks they consider to be distracting as compared to their level of engagement in these same distracting tasks. This study differs from other studies in that a follow-up period will be used to identify differences in response based on feedback and education on distraction.

Final Project Report: PacTrans-28-OSU-Hurwitz

Refinement and Dissemination of a Digital Platform for Sharing Transportation Education Materials

PI: Kevin Chang (UI),
Co-Investigators: Shane Brown (OSU), David Hurwitz (OSU), Bill Cofer (WSU), Robert Perkins (UAF), Linda Boyle (UW)
Dates: 6/01/2013 – 7/31/2015
Led by: (University of Idaho) Professors Kevin Chang and Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, this project is the PacTrans multi-institution Education Project for 2013-2014. (A phase II project, it builds on the successes of the phase I PacTrans multi-institution Education Project for 2012-2013.)

National interest abounds in improving engineering education stemming from concerns over the role of the US as a national economic leader (NRC 1999; NRC 1999), low performance on concept inventories (Hestenes, Wells et al. 1992; Olds, Streveler et al. 2004; Gray, Costanzo et al. 2005; Allen 2006), and a sense that we can improve the state-of-the-practice. These concerns have led to the development of an abundance of materials and methods that have been shown to be an effective means of improving student learning and other important educational outcomes. Read More

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