Dr. Barbara Banz leads Yale DrivSim Lab in new research publication published in NeuroReport.
Distracted driving is a primary contributor to the leading cause of death and injury across the lifespan – motor vehicle crashes. Young drivers are of prominent public health concern as they are involved in roughly 40% of fatal crashes and they may be uniquely vulnerable to distractions, (including cell phones, navigation systems, and peers) while driving due to ongoing brain development. In order to better understand the effect driving has on attention and distracted driving in young drivers we compared brain responses to auditory stimuli under two conditions: while participants were driving and while they were not driving a high-fidelity driving simulation. A smaller brain response to auditory stimuli was found in the driving as compared to the not driving condition. The differences in brain response represent the demand of driving on attention abilities. These brain-based data highlight a vulnerability to become distracted while driving which can lead to fatal motor vehicle crashes.