One of the key risk factors for teen driver crashes is the presence of peer passengers. One passenger doubles the risk of a crash, and two or more passengers lead to a five times greater risk of crash. As part of the CIRP@CHOP Teen Driver Safety Research Team and the principal investigator of simulator-based research and director of the simulator program, I have been exploring the detrimental impact of peer passengers on teen drivers with my research colleague, Noelle LaVoie, PhD at Parallel Consulting, with the goal of developing an engaging intervention that helps teens to reduce passenger-related distractions. We are in the process of developing a multi-player game as an intervention to address this issue.
CIRP@CHOP recently welcomed Robert Isler, PhD, an associate professor of Psychology at The University of Waikato in New Zealand, for an extended visit. He has spent over the past two decades researching physiological psychology and human performance, road safety, and driver training and education to help prevent teen driver crashes. Dr. Isler created eDrive, an engaging gaming platform to train teens on higher order driving skills (i.e., visual search, situation awareness, hazard perception, insight training, and risk management). Results are so promising that the New Zealand government now offers it for free to all learner teen drivers.