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How can we accelerate teen driver expertise?

Creating a training module to speed up teen driver learning

Teen drivers have a higher rate of car crashes than any other age group. Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths. These high crash rates take many months, to years, before they approach the lower crash rates of mature drivers. Much of this is attributed to the time it takes to develop “expertise.” Westat is creating a training module designed to speed up how quickly teen drivers develop the expertise that enables drivers to rapidly recognize and respond to dangerous situations.

We will lead a team of experts in advanced learning technologies and in teen driver issues to develop the stand-alone training module.

The training will address key perceptual difficulties such as the ability to predict the actions of other drivers without a lot of conscious effort experienced by novice drivers.

The advanced technologies we will use have been demonstrated to work in fields as varied as aviation, surgery, and mathematics. However, our project is the first major effort to apply them to developing driving skills.

Our training module may be used in driver training programs in the future.

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