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Aggressive and Distracted Driving Research: Slow Studies Cost Lives

Aggressive and distracted driving will kill 36,000 American deaths this year–equivalent to 86 fully loaded passenger jets crashing into the ocean.

Each year, aggressive and distracted driving together account for roughly 90 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities. Aggressive driving is responsible for 66 percent of these deaths, while distracted driving can be credited with 25 percent (and is on the rise).

Given these stark numbers, it isn’t shocking that many Realtime Technologies customers are interested in studying the conditions that lead to drivers becoming distracted and frustrated. Given that tens of thousands of lives are on the line, the slow development cycle for aggressive and distracted driving studies is supremely frustrating.

 

Meeting the Challenge of Developing Effective Aggressive and Distracted Driving Simulation Studies

Aggressive and distracted driver simulation studies are tricky. The simulation needs to spark a genuine emotional response in a subject who is likely to “be on their best behavior.”

According to Thomas Kerwin, Director of Operations for the Ohio State University Driving Simulation Lab, crafting such simulations takes a lot of tweaking, tinkering, and guess-n-check.

For example, in one aggressive driving study, Kerwin and his team deployed a variety of strategies to aggravate their subjects (and thus trigger aggressive reactions).

“We did some ambient things, like traffic jams. But then we tried something we called the ‘mimic car.’ This was a vehicle in the simulation that consistently drove 5 miles-per-hour under the speed limit. But if the subject changed lanes to try and pass this car, it would speed up a little bit and get in front of you, and then slow down again. We found it to be a pretty aggravating scenario for subjects.”

The mimic car was fantastically effective. “But tweaking that to make it work correctly was incredibly time consuming, because every adjustment meant shutting down the program, re-editing the Javascript, re-launching it, and that sort of thing.”

Realtime’s new SimCreator DX rapid simulation prototyping software suite is designed to remove all the frustration from “live tweak” debugging.

Click here to learn how SimCreator DX can accelerate your aggressive and distracted driver research studies.