Road traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Two groups of drivers are over-represented in these crashes: young drivers (24 years and younger) and individuals of all ages who drive while impaired. These drivers' involvement in crashes is elevated despite general prevention measures, such as mandatory safety belt use, as well as other measures aimed specifically at them, including the Graduated Driver Licensing program for young drivers.
To further prevent risky behavior associated with crashes, my research program aims to: i) better understand the characteristics of the drivers most at risk; 2) better understand how risky behavior takes place specifically in complex social and emotional contexts (e.g., passenger presence at night); and iii) develop and evaluate the efficacy of risk-reduction interventions in these contexts. My program crosses several disciplines (e.g., psychology, medicine, computer sciences, engineering) and benefits from the input of knowledge users such as decision makers and industry.
It also uses research tools based on new technologies. As an example of this approach, one proposed study examines the effects of inattention on involvement in risky behavior and crashes of young drivers with peer passengers. This 18-month longitudinal study, which is conducted with in-vehicle cameras and sensors, will allow the identification of the exact sequence of events leading to risky behavior and crashes and the context under which inattention is most important.
My research program will shed new light on the processes underlying risky behavior associated with crashes and their prevention.