Using Naturalistic Driving Data to Assess the Prevalence of Environmental Factors and Driver Behaviors in Teen Driver Crashes

Carney, C.; McGehee, D.V.; Harland, K.K.; Weiss, M.; Raby, M.


Objective, detailed and accurate information regarding the prevalence of factors with the potential to contribute to crashes is vital. In the past, the only way to obtain information for a large number of crashes was to use data collected from police reports. While information gathered this way is helpful, it has many limitations. More recently, in-vehicle event recorders (IVERs) have become a widely accepted means of gathering crash data both in research and real-world applications.

In this study, we conducted a large-scale comprehensive examination of naturalistic data from crashes that involved teenage drivers. Other naturalistic studies have investigated only a small number of crashes or used near crashes as a proxy for actual crashes, and few crashes involving teen drivers have been observed in other naturalistic studies. In contrast, this project examined naturalistic data from thousands of actual crashes that involved teenage drivers. The data allowed us to examine behaviors and potential contributing factors in the seconds leading up to the collision, and provided information not available in police reports.

Understanding the prevalence of potential contributing causes of crashes provides a significant societal benefit and advances the field of traffic safety. More specifically, information regarding what is happening inside the vehicle during the seconds before a crash can suggest countermeasures such as education, training, or advanced safety technologies that might best mitigate certain types of crashes.