Younger Driver Research

The Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) has received widespread recognition on its research on younger driver training and evaluation. Younger drivers, especially those below the age of eighteen, are at an increased risk of crashing. Our research has found that this is primarily due to the fact that younger drivers lack sufficient experience behind the wheel to reliably recognize potentially hazardous situations. Younger drivers do not scan the road as effectively as older, experience drivers and do not adjust the way they are driving when approaching potentially dangerous situations.

Arbella Trailer

The Human Performance Lab has developed several training programs aimed at improving the hazard anticipation abilities of younger drivers. The lab's Risk Awareness and Perception Training (RAPT) is a computer-based training program which trains younger, inexperienced drivers about various potentially hazardous situations, where they should be scanning for hazards, and how they should adjust their driving style to provide themselves with a safety buffer. The lab's work on younger driver training was honored with the 2010 Liberty Mutual Award from the Liberty Mutual Research Group. RAPT is now on its third version and can be downloaded here.

As an extension of their work on active training in a driving simulator, in 2010 the lab adapted RAPT for training in the driving simulator (SimRAPT). This training became the cornerstone for the Arbella Insurance Distractology 101 training program in which they put two driving simulators in a trailer and take it around the state visiting high schools and insurance agencies. The training's goal is to improve younger driver's hazard anticipation skills and teach them the dangers of distracted driving. The training is offered to young drivers free of charge. Arbella hopes to train thousands of younger drivers per year through the Distactology 101 program.

distracology image
simulator screens

Videos of Driving Behavior Related to Hazard Anticipation

Link to Videos Of Safe and Unsafe Driving Behavior as recorded in a Driving Simulator
These videos were developed by the HPL with funding from the Link Foundation for Simulation and Training.

Selected Publications

Pradhan, A. K., Pollatsek, A., Knodler, M. and Fisher, D. L. (2009). Can younger drivers be trained to scan for information that will reduce their risk in roadway traffic scenarios that are hard to identify as hazardous? Ergonomics, 62, 657-673.

Vlakveld, W., Romoser, M. R. E., Mehranian, H. Diete, F., & Fisher, D. L. (2010). Transportation Research Record Does the experience of crashes and near crashes in a simulator-based training program enhance novice driver's visual search for latent hazards? (in review)

Fisher, D. L., Pradhan, A. K., Pollatsek, A. and Knodler, M. A. Jr. (2007). Empirical evaluation of hazard anticipation behaviors in the field and on a driving simulator using an eye tracker. Transportation Research Record, 2018, 80-86.

Gary Vega, L., Fisher, D. L. and Pollatsek, A. (2007). Hazard Anticipation of Novice and experienced drivers: empirical evaluation on a driving simulator in daytime and nighttime conditions. Transportation Research Record, 2009, 1-7.

Pradhan, A. K., Fisher, D. L. and Pollatsek, A. (2006). Risk Perception Training for Novice Drivers: Evaluating Duration of Effects on a Driving Simulator. Transportation Research Record, 1969, 58-64.

Fisher, D. L., Pollatsek, A. and Pradhan, A. (2006). Can novice drivers be trained to scan for information that will reduce their likelihood of a crash? Injury Prevention, Volume 12, Supplement 1, i25-i29.

Pollatsek, A., Narayanaan, V., Pradhan, A., and Fisher, D. L. (2006). The Use of Eye Movements to Evaluate the Effect of PC-Based Risk Awareness Training on an Advanced Driving Simulator. Human Factors, 48, 447-464.

Pradhan, A. K., Hammel, K. R., DeRamus, R., Pollatsek, A., Noyce, D. A. and Fisher, D.L. (2005). The Use of Eye Movements to Evaluate the Effects of Driver Age on Risk Perception in an Advanced Driving Simulator. Human Factors, 47, 840-852.