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Hazard Detection

General Statistics

  • The three-second sequence: Within a one-second window a driver scans for a  hazard then has 2 seconds to detect and recognize it, and then decide how to respond in order to avoid or lessen the severity of a crash.1
  • Because their search skills are underdeveloped, new drivers often detect a hazard later than experienced drivers, increasing crash risk. 1
  • Among crashes attributed to a critical teen driver error, 21 percent were due to lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards. 2
  • Although current Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws help reduce teen driver crash rates by limiting the number of peer passengers and banning in-car cell phone use, many crashes will still occur due to the inability of teen drivers to detect and respond to a hazard in time. 2
  • Even in young adults with an average four years of driving experience, mind wandering while driving is associated with a tendency to scan the environment more narrowly. 3
  1. Winston FK, Senserrick TM, Eds. The Science of Safe Driving Among Adolescents. Injury Prevention. 2006; 12(Suppl 1):i56-i60.
  2. Curry AE, Hafetz J, Kallan MJ, Winston FK, Durbin DR. Prevalence of Teen Driver Errors Leading to Serious Motor Vehicle Crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention. April 2011.
  3. He J, Becic E, Lee YC, and McCarley JS. Mind Wandering Behind the Wheel: Performance and Oculomotor Correlates. Human Factors. February 2011.
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