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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 1, 2004

Simulator Awarded $150,000 Grant To Prepare For Young Driver Study

The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at the University of Iowa has received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to prepare for a study of young driver risk. The first-of-its-kind study will validate the NADS for use with young drivers while assessing performance and behavioral attributes of drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.

NADS researchers note that the high crash risk attributed to young drivers presents a challenge in conducting on-road studies with adolescents. A simulated driving environment enables young drivers to experience and respond to real-world driving situations without risking human life in the process. The broad, long-term goal of the research is to identify modifiable factors that can reduce the risks of adolescent driving.

Ginger Watson, NADS principal investigator, says, "This project will allow us to look at how driving performance and behavior changes as young drivers mature. Part of the study will allow for comparisons to older, experienced drivers."

The study calls for UI researchers to collaborate with researchers at an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center hosted by TraumaLink at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Flaura Winston is the principal investigator for The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Work on the project will begin in fall 2004. Younger drivers who will be age 15 to 20 in 2005 who would like to participate in the NADS study are asked to call the NADS hot line at 319-335-4719 or register online at www.nads-sc.uiowa.edu.

The NADS is the largest and most sophisticated research-oriented driving simulator in the world. It was built to conduct research that will ultimately lead to reductions in the number of traffic-related deaths, injuries, and incidents of property loss on the nation's highways. The NADS, located at the University of Iowa's Oakdale Research Park, is a national shared-use facility owned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation and operated by the University of Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 301, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu; Program: Wendy Moorehead, NADS Director of External Relations, 319-335-4843