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A new virtual driving assessment (VDA) has been created to alleviate the concerns of parents regarding their teenage children’s initial experiences with driving. This innovative system is designed to lower the frequency of accidents involving recently licensed young drivers by predicting their crash risk. 

Under 21 drivers account for 12% of accidents 

According to research, skills observed during the VDA, which is a prerequisite for obtaining a driver’s license, can effectively gauge the crash risk associated with the driver. The VDA also simulates participants’ exposure to typical severe crash scenarios, enhancing its predictive capabilities.

Researchers are making progress in identifying skill deficiencies that elevate the crash risk among new drivers. This advancement is a significant step towards the development of tailored interventions aimed at improving their driving abilities and reducing accident occurrences.

While drivers under 21 years old represent just 5% of all drivers, they account for approximately 12% of all vehicle accidents and 8.5% of fatal accidents. The highest risk period is in the months following the issuance of their new driver’s license. 

This research initiative, led by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, has spanned two decades. During this time, CIRP has identified insufficient driving skills, such as inadequate speed management, as the primary factor behind accidents involving novice drivers.

VDA was developed to evaluate driving skills in crash scenarios 

A self-guided VDA was developed to evaluate driving skills in severe crash scenarios, which traditional on-road tests cannot assess. This VDA utilizes the “Ready-Assess” platform provided by Diagnostic Driving, Inc., an AI-powered VDA offering users feedback and improvement tools.

Dr. Elizabeth Walshe of CIRP reported that their prior research established a correlation between performance on the VDA and actual on-road driving performance, specifically in relation to failure on the licensing road test. The study also revealed that drivers exhibiting major issues with dangerous behavior had a higher likelihood of being involved in crashes compared to typical new drivers