Striking a Summertime Safety Balance

Risk of people dying in teen driver-related crashes is highest in summer months. Dr. Dennis Durbin, a father of three teens, recommends ways for parents to let their teens safely enjoy the freedoms of summer.

#TeenSummer Safety Focus of Upcoming Twitter Chat

CIRP@CHOP’s Flaura Winston, MD, PhD (@safetymd) will be a special guest for an upcoming Twitter Chat on teen summer safety hosted by the Office of Adolescent Health (@TeenHealthGov). The Twitter Chat will cover information and tips on how adolescents can stay healthy and safe during the summer months, focusing on sun health, pool and swim safety, and traffic, bike, and pedestrian safety. If you’re on Twitter, follow along and join the conversation using the hashtag #TeenSummer.

Turning the Spotlight on the Learner Phase of Driving

Principal Investigator of CIRP@CHOP's TeenDrivingPlan research, Jessica Mirman, describes the decision to focus her efforts on the learner period of GDL to answer the question, "How can we help parent supervisors make the most of their practice time with their teenagers?" Initial results show intervention increases variety of practice drives and improves teenagers' driving performance.

Drowsy Driving: The Impairment That Can Impact Anyone

Media attention, research dollars, and awareness campaigns often target distracted driving and drunk driving as serious impairments that can impact drivers of any age. Another type of driving impairment that receives less attention, but whose prevalence and consequences are also significant, has suddenly been thrust into the national spotlight through a recent crash involving actor Tracy Morgan. That impairment is drowsy driving.

#DrivingSelfies, A Dangerous New Trend

#Selfies, when people take photos of themselves and share them via social media, have been widely used to promote a positive self-image, make others laugh, and brag a little when on vacation or somewhere wonderful with a “Guess Where I Am?” teaser. This is all in good fun. But when this trend is promoted as a cool behavior behind the wheel, fatal crashes can occur. In this post, we take stock of the trend's prevalence to help the teen driver safety community nip it in the bud.

DriveLab: A New Tool for Driving Simulator Research

Driving simulators offer a safe, highly reproducible environment for assessing driver behavior. However, reducing the data to easy-to-interpret metrics can be extremely time-consuming and effortful. Even worse, it can be error-prone. My recent research involves the development of a tool to help standardize driving simulator results called DriveLab.

Toward A Better Understanding of Teen Driver Crashes

In an editorial published today in JAMA Pediatrics, I commend the work being done by my teen driver safety colleagues at Virginia Tech as part of the Naturalistic Teen Driving Study. The study by Ouimet et al.¹ examines the association between cortisol reactivity and crashes and near-crashes among newly-licensed teens. While these findings do present an interesting new line of research, they do not suggest that we are close to developing a clinically useful biomarker-based diagnostic test nor a pharmaceutical therapy to reduce the risk for teen driver crashes. Continued research is needed.

Why the Focus Should Be on “Engaged Driving” for Teens

While working with other auto safety researchers over the past year as part of a distracted driving panel organized by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) and State Farm®, I have been introduced to the term “engaged driving” and prefer it to the term “distracted driving.” I think it better describes what we want drivers to do to be safe.

Discussing the Impact of Marijuana on Driving

I think it's really interesting when hot topics in the news coincide with questions raised in my clinical practice, such as last week when the New York Times published an article about the effects of marijuana on driving. Since I see a fair number of teens in my office, I've had some conversations regarding the impact of different substances (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, marijuana) on various developmental tasks, including driving.

Teen Driver Safety Workshops on Track for Lifesavers

Learn about upcoming CIRP@CHOP presentations at the Lifesavers Conference on teen driver safety, including validating tools for teen driver safety research, trends in delayed licensure, and taking a systematic approach to traffic safety programs. The Teen Driver Track also includes five other workshops to help teen driver safety practitioners practically solve programming challenges.

A Researcher’s Keys to Administrative Data

The CIRP@CHOP Teen Driver Safety Research team uses several methodological approaches in our research, including: evidence-based intervention design and evaluation, driving simulation, on road driving assessment, and analysis of existing data sources. As the CIRP@CHOP Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, I have been working to find ways to improve the methods with which researchers analyze existing data sources to boost teen driver safety.

ADHD: A Controversial Diagnosis

Recent New York Times stories on the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest that pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and even parents have added to what is the perceived overdiagnosis of this developmental disability and that the benefits of medication as a primary treatment have been overblown. While we need to be cautious about overdiagnosis and prescribing medication when unnecessary, we also need to take ADHD symptoms seriously, especially when it comes to injury prevention and driving.

Our 100th Blog Post!

I'm proud to note that today's post marks our 100th blog post! We are excited for improvements to our blog this year, but also wanted to take a look back at our most popular blog posts from the last year. They are:

Child Injury Prevention Holiday Wish List

In the spirit of my previous Thanksgiving post about items for which I’m grateful in the pediatric injury world, I thought I’d make my holiday “wish list” for the next year and beyond.

Developing a Game to Help Teen Drivers Manage Peer Passengers

One of the key risk factors for teen driver crashes is the presence of peer passengers. One passenger doubles the risk of a crash, and two or more passengers lead to a five times greater risk of crash. As part of the CIRP@CHOP Teen Driver Safety Research Team and the principal investigator of simulator-based research and director of the simulator program, I have been exploring the detrimental impact of peer passengers on teen drivers with my research colleague, Noelle LaVoie, PhD at Parallel Consulting, with the goal of developing an engaging intervention that helps teens to reduce passenger-related distractions. We are in the process of developing a multi-player game as an intervention to address this issue.