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University of Iowa News Release

April 21, 2006

Driving Simulator Seeks Teenage Drivers And Parents For Study

The National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS), a research and teaching unit of the University of Iowa College of Engineering, is seeking teenage drivers and their parents to participate in a study to investigate factors that place young drivers at a much higher risk of injury relative to other age groups.

NADS recently received two contracts totaling about $300,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct teenage driver research in which NADS researchers Omar Ahmad will serve as project manager and Timothy Brown as principal investigator.

Dawn Marshall, study coordinator, noted that highway crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teenagers. For example, figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that in 2002, 8,984 deaths nationwide resulted from crashes involving drivers, ages 16 to 20. Although young drivers comprised only 6.6 percent of all drivers, they accounted for about 14 percent of fatal crashes in 2002.

Eligibility in the six-month study is limited to teenagers currently between the ages 15 1/2 to 16 1/2 years old who plan to obtain a driver's license before June 30, 2006, and their parents. Teens and their parents will complete surveys placed on the NADS Web site about driving expectations, driving experiences and personality traits. Participants will be compensated in the amount of $115 for teens and $105 for parents. Selected teens will be invited to participate in another study that involves driving the National Advanced Driving Simulator and completing a short on-road test in their own cars.

Prospective participants can learn more by going to http://www.nads-sc.uiowa.edu/teendrivers/ to download and print the information packet located there, or by contacting Dawn Marshall at 319-335-4774 or marshall@nads-sc.uiowa.edu.

Located at the University of Iowa's Oakdale Research Park, NADS is the most sophisticated research-driving simulator in the world. Developed by NHTSA, it offers the highest fidelity real-time driving simulation experience. The University of Iowa was selected to host NADS as the result of a national competition, conducted for NHTSA by the NSF among major transportation research universities. The NADS' primary mission of conducting research to understand complex driver-vehicle-roadway interaction in critical driving situations -- aided by a teaching component -- will ultimately lead to reductions in the number of traffic-related deaths and injuries on the nation's highways. Additionally, the NADS can be used to conduct vehicle system engineering research that will enhance the productivity of the U.S. automotive manufacturing sector.

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

CONTACTS: Media: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu; Program: Dawn Marshall, 319-335-4774, marshall@nads-sc.uiowa.edu