Teen Driver Safety

Drowsy Driving: The Impairment That Can Impact Anyone

Media attention, research dollars, and awareness campaigns often target distracted driving and drunk driving as serious impairments that can impact drivers of any age. Another type of driving impairment that receives less attention, but whose prevalence and consequences are also significant, has suddenly been thrust into the national spotlight through a recent crash involving actor Tracy Morgan. That impairment is drowsy driving.

#DrivingSelfies, A Dangerous New Trend

#Selfies, when people take photos of themselves and share them via social media, have been widely used to promote a positive self-image, make others laugh, and brag a little when on vacation or somewhere wonderful with a “Guess Where I Am?” teaser. This is all in good fun. But when this trend is promoted as a cool behavior behind the wheel, fatal crashes can occur. In this post, we take stock of the trend's prevalence to help the teen driver safety community nip it in the bud.

DriveLab: A New Tool for Driving Simulator Research

Driving simulators offer a safe, highly reproducible environment for assessing driver behavior. However, reducing the data to easy-to-interpret metrics can be extremely time-consuming and effortful. Even worse, it can be error-prone. My recent research involves the development of a tool to help standardize driving simulator results called DriveLab.

Toward A Better Understanding of Teen Driver Crashes

In an editorial published today in JAMA Pediatrics, I commend the work being done by my teen driver safety colleagues at Virginia Tech as part of the Naturalistic Teen Driving Study. The study by Ouimet et al.¹ examines the association between cortisol reactivity and crashes and near-crashes among newly-licensed teens. While these findings do present an interesting new line of research, they do not suggest that we are close to developing a clinically useful biomarker-based diagnostic test nor a pharmaceutical therapy to reduce the risk for teen driver crashes. Continued research is needed.

Why the Focus Should Be on “Engaged Driving” for Teens

While working with other auto safety researchers over the past year as part of a distracted driving panel organized by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) and State Farm®, I have been introduced to the term “engaged driving” and prefer it to the term “distracted driving.” I think it better describes what we want drivers to do to be safe.

Discussing the Impact of Marijuana on Driving

I think it's really interesting when hot topics in the news coincide with questions raised in my clinical practice, such as last week when the New York Times published an article about the effects of marijuana on driving. Since I see a fair number of teens in my office, I've had some conversations regarding the impact of different substances (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, marijuana) on various developmental tasks, including driving.

Teen Driver Safety Workshops on Track for Lifesavers

Learn about upcoming CIRP@CHOP presentations at the Lifesavers Conference on teen driver safety, including validating tools for teen driver safety research, trends in delayed licensure, and taking a systematic approach to traffic safety programs. The Teen Driver Track also includes five other workshops to help teen driver safety practitioners practically solve programming challenges.

A Researcher’s Keys to Administrative Data

The CIRP@CHOP Teen Driver Safety Research team uses several methodological approaches in our research, including: evidence-based intervention design and evaluation, driving simulation, on road driving assessment, and analysis of existing data sources. As the CIRP@CHOP Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, I have been working to find ways to improve the methods with which researchers analyze existing data sources to boost teen driver safety.

ADHD: A Controversial Diagnosis

Recent New York Times stories on the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest that pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and even parents have added to what is the perceived overdiagnosis of this developmental disability and that the benefits of medication as a primary treatment have been overblown. While we need to be cautious about overdiagnosis and prescribing medication when unnecessary, we also need to take ADHD symptoms seriously, especially when it comes to injury prevention and driving.

Our 100th Blog Post!

I'm proud to note that today's post marks our 100th blog post! We are excited for improvements to our blog this year, but also wanted to take a look back at our most popular blog posts from the last year. They are:

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