Automotive Simulator Based Novice Driver Training with Assessment 2011-01-1011
Motor vehicle crashes involving novice drivers are significantly higher than matured driver incidents as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System (NHTSA-FARS). Researchers around the world and the United States are focused on how to decrease crashes for this driver demographic. Novice drivers usually complete driver education classes as a pre-requisite for full licensure to improve overall knowledge and safety. However, compiled statistics still indicate a need for more in-depth training after full licensure. An opportunity exists to supplement in-vehicle driving with focused learning modules using automotive simulators. In this paper, a training program for “Following Etiquette” and “Situational Awareness” was developed to introduce these key driving techniques and to complete a feasibility study using a driving simulator as the training tool. Students received minimal verbal instruction from the examiner; the majority of information was delivered by custom training videos and embedded driving simulator instructions. The first module introduced a basic timing method that allowed drivers to maintain a recommended following distance; 58% of the students passed while 42% failed. The second module allowed these individuals to practice obstacle avoidance techniques and emergency maneuvers; 25% of the students passed out right, 58% conditionally passed, and 17% failed. Overall, the simulator proved to be a feasible option for communicating automotive safety lessons, followed immediately by driving exercises to practice and reinforce the educational concept.