The CIRP Teen Driving Safety Research team has developed an understanding of how serious teen driver crashes occur, including the typical scenarios and factors that contribute to these crashes. However, no validated test, grounded in this understanding of how teens crash, was available to assess whether a teen was prepared to drive safely during the learner period. Researchers at CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania created the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) to meet this need, offering for the first time a safe way to assess novice teen drivers' skill levels in actual crash scenarios.
The systematic development of the Simulated Driving Assessment was grounded in epidemiologic research of how teens and adults crash and in validated metrics for safe and unsafe driving in real world situations. Research published in Injury Prevention demonstrated the validity of the SDA for safe evaluation of novice teen driver skill in high-risk driving scenarios:
- During the SDA, nearly 43 percent of newly licensed teens (within three months of licensure) had a simulated crash at least once. For licensed, experienced adult drivers, that percentage was 29 percent.
- For every additional error committed during the SDA, the risk for crashing or running off the road increased by 8 percent.
- Although the novice teen drivers were adept at basic driving skills (i.e., using turn signals), the more advanced skills (i.e., braking in hazardous situations, anticipating and responding to hazards) proved challenging.
- The Simulated Driving Assessment is a package of software products that runs on commercially available driving simulators. As a standard protocol to evaluate teen driver performance, the SDA has the potential to screen and assess for licensure readiness and could be used to guide targeted skill training. CIRP researchers are currently using the SDA to evaluate risky driving behaviors in teens.
In 2016, this software technology also spun out as an independent company called Diagnostic Driving, which is partnering with CIRP and the Ohio Department of Public Safety to pilot and fully implement Ready-Assess™ software as the Ohio Portable Driving Simulator System (PDSS) in the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles licensing centers.
Read About Studies that Contributed to the Validation of the SDA
- Comparison of Adult and Teen Driver Crash Scenarios in a Nationally Representative Sample of Serious Crashes. Annals of Advancement in Automotive Medicine. September 2013.
- Using Crash Data to Develop Simulated Scenarios for Assessing Novice Driver Performance.Transportation Research Record. July 2014.
- Experience and Skill Predict Failure to Brake Errors: Further Validations of the Simulated Driving Assessment. SAE Technical Paper. April 2014.
- Simulated Driving Assessment: Case Study for the Development of Drivelab, Extendable Matlab™ Toolbox for Data Reduction of Clinical Driving Simulator Data. SAE Technical Paper. April 2014.
- Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) for Teen Drivers: Results from a Validation Study. Injury Prevention. March 2015.