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Cross-Platform Simulation Needs for Novice (and other) Drivers. TRB Workshop on “Development of Standardized Descriptions of Driving Simulator Scenarios: Human Factors Considerations Jerry Wachtel The Veridian Group, Inc. January 9, 2005. Young Novice Drivers.

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Cross-Platform Simulation Needs for Novice (and other) Drivers

TRB Workshop on “Development of Standardized Descriptions of Driving Simulator Scenarios: Human Factors Considerations

Jerry Wachtel

The Veridian Group, Inc.

January 9, 2005


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Young Novice Drivers Drivers

  • We’ve been studying this issue for a long time

  • Must distinguish novice drivers from young novice drivers

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Young Novice Drivers Have: Drivers

  • Excellent Reflexes

  • Good hand-eye coordination

  • Rapid perception-reaction time

  • Ability to divide and share attention

  • Wide range of body strength and motion

  • Excellent peripheral and night vision, contrast sensitivity

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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These are essentially the same factors that are important for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Young novice drivers also have: for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • An inflated assessment of their abilities

  • A high propensity to take risks

  • Greater exposure to potential crash situations

  • A lack of driving experience, which leads to

  • Unrefined perceptual and cognitive skills critical for safe driving

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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We Can See these Differences in Crash Types and Consequences for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Young novice drivers have high-speed, single vehicle, run-off-road crashes

  • Older drivers have low-speed, two-vehicle, intersection, angled crashes

  • Older drivers have high fatality rates because they are physically frail

  • Young drivers have high fatality rates because they hit things hard

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Fatality Rates by Age 1993-2003 for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Four Skills to Mediate Young Novice Driver Crash Risk for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Risk perception

  • Attentional Control

  • Time-sharing

  • Calibration

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Training/Testing for These Skills Amenable to Simulation for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Traditional driver education not working

  • Focus has been on vehicle control or “passing the test”

  • Focus should be on compressing the learning curve for critical perceptual and cognitive skills

  • This is precisely where simulation is at its best

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Traditional Arguments Against Simulation for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Cost

  • Fidelity

  • Validity (and the “criterion” problem)

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Two Less Obvious Arguments Against Simulation for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Motivation

  • Challenges and “gold standards”

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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The Role of Motivation for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Motivation has been shown to affect performance on simulators

  • Traditional motivators include:

    • Captive subjects (required to participate)

    • Payment for service

    • Zero-sum game

    • Please the professor

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Negative Motivation for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Young novice drivers may consider “safe” driving boring and tedious

  • Examples abound of simulators used as race cars

  • The Plymouth/Dodge Neon Drunk Driving Simulator

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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The Neon Drunk Driving Simulator for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Inherent Motivation for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate

  • Pass the simulator test, get your license

  • Not as far-fetched as it may seem

  • Used successfully in other industries

  • Used with specific subsets of drivers:

    • Police trainees

    • Cognitively impaired patients

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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How can we use the power of simulation to provide positive motivation and serve the learning function?

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Challenges, and “Gold Standards” motivation and serve the learning function?

  • Challenges are at the heart of our simulation exercises

  • We have a tendency to seek the “holy grail”

  • Subject matter experts can tell us what is needed

  • We should be coming together to harmonize these events across sites

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Cross-Platform Compatibilities Important for Younger (and all) Drivers

  • The Visual Data Base

  • The Scenario

  • The Simulation (including independent variables)

  • Dependent variables

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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The Data Base all) Drivers

  • The road and the terrain

  • ITE “Green Book”

  • FHWA MUTCD

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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An Example from the MUTCD all) Drivers

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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The Scenario – and Signs all) Drivers

  • Signs as “environmental filler” vs. actual triggers or independent variables

  • Some have argued that poor visual characteristics of simulated signs results in fail-safe recommendations.

  • This does not work for the novice driver

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Use of Supplemental Monitor for Display of Signs all) Drivers

The Veridian Group, Inc.



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The Simulation all) Drivers

  • Are objects intended to be background or will they be used as triggers or independent variables?

  • The answer to this question might dictate how precise we must be in our specifications

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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And if precision is needed, “the devil is in the details.”

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Importance of Sign Size and Placement Fidelity details.”

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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Dependent Measures details.”

The Veridian Group, Inc.


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