Crash Study Looking to Prevent Car Accidents in Florida is Now Seeking Participants

Drivers in our state could be the new subjects of a crash study aimed at creating countermeasures to prevent car accidents in Boca Raton and elsewhere before they even happen.

The Naturalistic Driving Study is looking for 3,100, many of them in the Tampa Bay area, to participate in the two-year study. The study aims to examine driver’s behaviors behind the wheel in an attempt to create effective countermeasures to prevent car accidents.

Driver actions are the primary cause of most car accidents nationwide.

Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys recognize that this study, the largest field study of its kind, will be truly beneficial in reducing the number of fatal accidents on our roadways. Drivers will be examined mainly in crash and near-crash scenarios. Researchers will start off by specifically looking into accidents that occur at intersections and accidents where the driver runs off the road.

“Collision prevention is the central goal of the study” said Ken Campbell, chief program officer overseeing safety for the Strategic Highway Research Program, which is part of the non-profit Transportation Research Board. “And the driver is the key to prevent collision.”

During this study, researchers will install monitoring equipment into the participant’s vehicle. This equipment will consist of four video cameras positioned to record forward and rear views and the driver’s face and hands. The vehicle will also have GPS, wireless radar and sensors installed throughout the duration of the study. Information collected will include lane width, curve radius, traffic, speed, lighting and weather conditions, according to Forbes.

All of this information will be kept in a storage box that is about the size of a text book inside the vehicle. Researchers will fetch this information every four to six months.

This study, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, is so different because its main focus is to determine theories of crash avoidance where previous studies have only focused on countermeasures used to protect drivers and passengers after collisions, like seat belts, airbags and crash-worthy vehicles.

“You can’t just look at collisions or near collisions to know what risk factors are. It’s that comparison with what the driver is doing when there is not a safety-related event that tells you what the risk factors are,” said Campbell.

This data will be analyzed by researchers and then used to aid the development of safety improvements in road design, cars, and driver training programs.

The study is looking for participants in New York, Washington, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Participants can sign up for one or two years. Each year they’re signed up they’ll receive $500.

“We are particularly interested in people under 25 and over 65” Dr. Campbell said. Both groups represent a small percentage of all drivers and have high collision rates.

To participate, you are required to have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and an approved vehicle.

“This study is long overdue and has the potential for providing the most comprehensive look at why highway crashes occur,” said Peter Kissinger, president and chief executive of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and educational organization that provided technical advice for the study. “It is unprecedented in its scope and approach. It will be a wonderful supplement to other ongoing and planned traffic safety research efforts. My only disappointment is that the transportation research community didn’t initiate the study several years ago.”