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University of Iowa News Release

June 21, 2005

June 27-30 Symposium Focuses On Human Factors And Safety In Driving

Driver distraction, cell phone use and older drivers will be among the topics discussed June 27-30 at the 3rd International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design in Rockport, Maine.

The University of Iowa-organized symposium is an interdisciplinary forum at which over 150 experts from 13 nations will exchange scientific research findings on recent advances in driver and vehicle safety. Organizers say that the symposium promises to inspire new international research on cognition, driving behavior and safety interventions for both healthy and medically impaired drivers. These topics are of interest to groups ranging from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the automotive industry and the American Medical Association.

The symposium will include experts from the fields of human factors, engineering, medicine, public health, computer science, psychology, public policy and driving simulation.

Nissan is the lead sponsor of the symposium. Other principal sponsors include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Honda and Toyota. The meeting is also sponsored by the UI Public Policy Center, the UI College of Engineering, the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, the Injury Prevention Research Center, Center for Computer-Aided Design, Center on Aging and the Office of Corporate Partnerships.

The conference will feature the first public presentation of the results from the world's largest naturalistic driving study. Funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 'Virginia Tech 100 car study' will be presented by former University of Iowa engineering faculty member Dr. F. Thomas Dingus, now professor and director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. His lecture will give a first look at this massive study that videotaped 100 cars and their drivers for one year, two million miles and 43,000 driving hours. One of the study's central findings was that drivers involved in crashes, near crashes and incidents were far more likely to be using wireless devices, such as cell phones, than to be performing any other single distracting activity. Professor Dingus' lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with leading driver distraction researchers from the automotive industry and academia.

The Nissan Technical Center-North America, a lead partner in the symposium, will sponsor the Nissan Distinguished Keynote Speaker: Dr. Leonard Evans, renowned traffic safety researcher and president of Science Serving Society.

Honda R&D Americas, Inc., will, for the second time, sponsor an award for outstanding student research at the conference. "It is a privilege and honor for us to once again partner with the University of Iowa in recognizing outstanding student researchers at this year's Driving Assessment Symposium," said Charles Allen, senior vice president and general manager, Honda R & D Americas. "Their ideas and innovative approaches will help to improve the driving experience for all of us, and through their work, we can truly make our lives better."

The conference co-founders and chairs are: John D. Lee, associate professor of industrial engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering and researcher at the UI Center for Computer-Aided Design; Daniel V. McGehee, director, Human Factors & Vehicle Safety Research Division, UI Public Policy Center; and Matthew Rizzo, professor of neurology, UI Carver College of Medicine.

Further information on the symposium may be found at:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,; Program: Daniel McGehee, 319-335-6819,