Hazard Cuing Systems for Teen Drivers: A Test-track Evaluation on Mcity 2019-01-0399
There is strong evidence that the overrepresentation of teen drivers in motor vehicle crashes is greatly influenced by their poor hazard perception skills, i.e., they are unskilled at appropriately detecting and responding to roadway hazards. This study evaluates two cuing systems designed to help teens better understand their driving environment. Both systems use directional color-coding to represent different levels of proximity between one’s vehicle and outside agents. The first system provides an overview of the location of adjacent objects in a head-up display in front of the driver, and relies on drivers’ focal vision (Focal Cuing System - FCS). The second system presents similar information, but in drivers’ peripheral vision, by using ambient lights (Peripheral Cuing System - PCS). Both systems were retrofitted into a test vehicle (2014 Toyota Camry). A within-subject experiment was conducted on the Mcity test-track facility to study driver responses to the systems. The study recruited eighteen participants. Each participant experienced three cuing conditions: FCS, PCS, and both FCS + PCS. The order of cuing system exposure was balanced among participants. Participants also drove two practice drives as well as a baseline and post-treatment drive (with no cuing systems). All drives were approximately six minutes long and contained seven distinct visual hazard obstruction scenarios. Each scenario had a pre-defined critical point. The dependent variables were (a) the minimum clearances between the critical points and the participant’s vehicle, and (b) vehicle speed at the minimum clearance points. Results show that teens drove more safely, i.e., they drove more slowly and maintained greater distances at critical points when cuing systems were present. These behaviors were more evident with PCS. These findings suggest that such cuing systems have the potential to address the hazard perception skill deficiency in teenage drivers.
Yu Zhang, Te-Ping Kang, Michael Flannagan, Shan Bao, Anuj Pradhan, John Sullivan
DENSO International America Inc., University of Michigan Transportation Re