Developing a Teen Driving Meta-Database Using Three Naturalistic Teen Driving Studies Plus Driver Coach Study

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2024-01-25

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Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for teens aged 16 to 19. The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16 to 19 than among any other age group. Despite great interest in teen risky driving, little objective information about its prevalence is available. The Naturalistic Teenage Driving Study (NTDS), conducted at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), provided a rich and powerful dataset, which permits researchers to evaluate driving performance over long periods and provide objective measures of driving risks and contributing factors. However, the NTDS only had 42 novice drivers from southwest Virginia. With the lack of other naturalistic studies of novice teenage driving for comparison, its findings are tentative and need further exploration and confirmation. More NDSs are needed to obtain additional crash data and determine what factors could lead to teen risky driving. Using the trigger thresholds from the NTDS, event databases were created from the Supervised Practice Driving Study (SPDS), the SPDS Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Cohort NDS, the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) NDS, and the Driver Coach Study. Similarly, a database of baseline epochs, per guidelines from the NTDS, was also developed for each of these studies. All event and baseline databases from all five studies were combined into one database to perform meta-analyses using naturalistic teenage driving data. This database is the most complete naturalistic teenage driving database in the world. Many of the key analyses that were performed on only 42 teenage drivers in the NTDS can now be performed on 489 novice drivers from seven locations around the U.S. In this report, we describe each database briefly, including the ADHD teen study, and provide notations about purpose, methods, measures, and instrumentation. We then review what have learned from each database about young driver crash risk. Studies based on the meta-database mainly focused on the prevalence of teen secondary task engagement, distraction, risky driving behavior, and progression of driving skill, as well as the associated crash risks for these behaviors. New projects and new work that this tool has already yielded are described herein, and additional work that still needs to be done is outlined.

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transportation safety, teen drivers, naturalistic driving studies

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