Are You A Safe Driver?

September 2, 2011 Updated Sep 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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September 2, 2011 Updated Sep 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM EDT

(Cheektowaga, N.Y.) Nearly 500 residents of Erie County N.Y. are being recruited for a Transportation Research Board (TRB) study on driving behavior. This is part of the world's largest study of driver behavior, in which vehicle-mounted equipment will observe how drivers interact with traffic conditions and roadway design. The data captured will be used for safety improvements in road design, cars, and driver training programs.

Over the course of the two-year study, vehicles of 3,100 drivers in six test sites across the U.S. will be fitted with a special Data Acquisition System (DAS), which will collect both driver and vehicle performance data. DAS technology includes forward radar, continuously recording video cameras, GPS, accelerometers, and other sensors. Environmental variables such as traffic, lighting, and weather conditions will also be collected.

"We are looking for local drivers of all ages to participate in this important national study that will help improve road safety and save lives," said Alan Blatt, principal investigator for the Western New York test site, which is being managed and operated by CUBRC's Transportation and Public Safety Group.

Residents who want to participate in the study will need to fill out a questionnaire and take a few tests. The information provided will support research on the relationship between driver characteristics and highway safety. Once the DAS equipment is installed, drivers should simply follow their regular driving patterns. Drivers are paid $500 per year for their participation, and their privacy will be protected.

For more information about the study, visit www.drivingstudy.org.