Traffic Deaths Surge During Pandemic, Despite Fewer Drivers
Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 11,260 people were killed on U.S. roadways in the third quarter of 2020, a 13.1% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Looking at the first nine months of 2020, the data show that 28,190 people died in crashes, a 4.6% increase from the year before. Traffic deaths rose even though there were fewer drivers on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic – a troubling trend as traffic volume returns to normal.Source: Statement by Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
Alcohol- and speeding-related fatal crashes among novice drivers age 18-20 not fully licensed at the time of the crash.
Dr. Vaca and his collaborators publish an NIH funded study examining recent alcohol and speeding-related fatal crashes among young drivers and their relationship to licensure status at the time of the crash.
Coupling neuroscience and driving simulation: A systematic review of studies on crash-risk behaviors in young drivers
Dr. Banz and her DrivSim Lab team publish a systematic review on the state-of-the-art of the science that has explored coupling brain imaging methods with driving simulation among young drivers. This study was published in the December 2020 issue of the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.
Banz and the DrivSim Lab Team Show that Alcohol Drinking History May Say Something about How You Drive Even When You Are Sober
Dr. Barbara Banz recently presented research findings at the 64th Annual Scientific Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. The study titled, "Alcohol use patterns and their association with sober driver vehicle control in high fidelity driving simulation," shows associations of alcohol use history and drinking patterns with a driver's ability to control their vehicle when they are driving sober. The study was published today in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.
Dr. Hartka from the University of Virginia's School of Medicine and DrivSim Lab's Dr. Vaca examine factors associated with EMS transport decisions for pediatric patients after motor vehicle collisions
The study findings, published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, point to factors that might explain why some pediatric vehicle occupant crash victims are not transported to hospitals for medical evaluation.
Dr. Green and the DrivSim Lab team study sleep hygiene and drowsiness with adverse driving Events in emergency medicine residents
Emergency physicians in training are at risk for drowsy driving-related motor vehicle crashes following overnight work shifts. Trainees of all levels underestimated their true degree of sleepiness prior to initiating their drive home, while junior residents were at higher risk for adverse driving events.
Factor that contribute to teen delay in driving licensure and the need to bolster state graduated driver licensing policies
"Factors Contributing to Delay in Driving Licensure Among Teens and a Case for Bolstering Graduated Driver License Policies" presented by Federico Vaca, MD, MPH & Rebecca Weast, PhD (9/30/2020)
Among young sober drivers, their history of alcohol use may be a key factor in how easily they are able to maintain attention while driving
Relationships between recent binge drinking, number of drinking-related symptoms, and the neural correlates of attention processing which may translate to limitations in secondary task engagement during driving simulation while sober.
Association of Recreational Cannabis Laws in Colorado and Washington State With Changes in Traffic Fatalities, 2005-2017
Using a synthetic control approach, this ecological study found that recreational cannabis laws were associated with increases in traffic fatalities in Colorado (mean of 75 excess fatalities per year) but not in Washington State.Source: JAMA Internal Medicine
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.
Absent Traffic Jams, Many Drivers Getting More Reckless Traffic Safety Community Urges Safer Driving During Coronavirus Pandemic
Emptier streets may be encouraging some drivers to flaunt traffic safety laws, including speed limits. Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, state highway safety officials across the country are seeing a severe spike in speeding. Many states have reported alarming speed increases, with some noting a significant surge in vehicles clocked at 100 mph or more.Source: News Releases and Report
Dr. Vaca and NIH collaborative team find parents can curb teen drinking and driving
Binge drinking by teenagers in their senior year of high school is a strong predictor of dangerous behaviors later in life, including driving while impaired (DWI) and riding with an impaired driver (RWI), according to a new Yale-led study. But researchers also found that what teens believe their parents know about their leisure activities and who their friends are — and whether the parents approve or disapprove of alcohol use - can have life-saving effects.
Cannabis Use Among Drivers in Fatal Crashes in Washington State Before and After Legalization
Washington State Initiative 502 (I-502), effective Dec. 6, 2012, legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use by adults aged 21 years and older. It also included a prohibition against driving with 5 or more nanograms of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of blood, along with a zero tolerance prohibition for drivers younger than 21 years of age. THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis and detection of THC in blood is suggestive of recent use. A previous study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined data from drivers involved in fatal crashes in Washington State in years 2010-2014 and estimated that the proportion of drivers with detectable THC approximately doubled several months after I-502 became effective. The research reported here updates the previous study with three additional years of data, post-legalization.Source: Research Brief
Dr. Banz publishes article on understanding the complexities of young driver injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes.
Dr. Banz and her collaborators offer a perspective on the literature discussing the importance of driving for youth, the complexities of learning to drive, and the risks of driving which lead to motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). Specifically, they discuss important underlying reasons why some adolescents and young adults may be more susceptible to engaging in driving behaviors which result in fatal MVCs; the leading cause of death among 15 to 20 y/o.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana and Illicit Drugs Among Persons Aged ≥16 Years — United States, 2018
The use and co-use of alcohol and drugs has been associated with impairment of psychomotor and cognitive functions while driving. During 2018, approximately 12 million (4.7%) U.S. residents aged ≥16 years reported driving under the influence of marijuana, and 2.3 million (0.9%) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during the past 12 months. Development, evaluation, and further implementation of strategies to prevent alcohol-, drug-, and polysubstance-impaired driving coupled with standardized testing of impaired drivers and drivers involved in fatal crashes could advance understanding of drug- and polysubstance-impaired driving and assist states and communities with prevention efforts.Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Close Friends’ Drinking and Personal Income as Mediators of Extreme Drinking: A Prospective Investigation
NIH investigators and DrivSim faculty publish a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs focused on extreme binge drinking. The study examined longitudinal associations between college attendance, residence on- or off-campus, and work status during the first 2 years after high school with extreme binge drinking at 4 years after high school and tested peer drinking and personal income at 3 years after high school as mediators. The study found that living on campus and working more than 30 hours per week during the first 2 years after high school increased risk for drinking three times above the binge drinking threshold at 4 years after high school.Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
NSC Estimates 417 People May be Killed on U.S. Roads this Thanksgiving Holiday
The estimates 417 people may be killed and another 47,500 may be seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday period. Compared to last year, the fatality estimate is down nearly 4%, which is in line with an estimated drop in overall motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. Alcohol is a persistent factor in fatal crashes. Historical trends show that, on average, more than one-third of deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period involve alcohol-impaired drivers.Source: In the Newsroom
Yale DrivSim Lab Faculty to Present Research at Premier International Driving Simulation Research Conference in October
The international Road Safety and Simulation (RSS) conference series was established in Rome in 2007 and has since then provided a bi-annual platform for researchers and professionals from various disciplines to share expertise and the latest insights in the field of road safety and simulation. This year's conference will be hosted by the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS), a self-sustained transportation safety research center in the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. During this year's conference (October 14th - 17th), Drs. Barbara Banz, Federico Vaca and Kaigang Li will present findings from several ongoing driving simulation and epidemiological studies.