9th October 2015

Ever wanted to get behind the wheel of a high-tech driving simulator, complete with fully working car?

QUT road safety researchers are offering young male drivers the opportunity to share their driving performance and opinions in Queensland's first state-of-the-art advanced driving simulator as part of a study to provide new insight into reducing road crash deaths and injuries.

Dr Ashleigh Filtness, from QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q), said the advanced driving simulator combined high-tech software with eight computers, projectors and a six-degrees of freedom motion platform capable of moving and twisting in three dimensions.

"Sitting in an actual vehicle, the driver is immersed in a virtual environment that includes a 180 degree front view, simulated rear view and surround sound to realistically experience the engine and environment noise, as well as the motion of driving," Dr Filtness said.

She said the study would look at how males age 30 and under drive in urban environments, as well as record their opinions about what they think of other drivers while behind the wheel, and how they interact with other road users.

"What is unique about the simulator is that it allows us to study human behaviour in different driving conditions with a high degree of realism, but free of crash risk," she said.

"We know that young drivers have a disproportionately higher rate of involvement in road crashes in Australia.

"That's why young drivers make up a quarter of all Australian road deaths each year, but they are only 10-15 per cent of the licensed driver population.

"Young males are particularly at risk.

"Our study aims to understand more about how young males drive on urban roads. We want to know what's going through their minds when faced with common driving scenarios.

"For example, how do they respond in heavy traffic, at railway crossings, or near schools, and what they are thinking?"

Dr Filtness said by improving our knowledge of what the young male driver population was doing and thinking on the road, researchers could work towards developing evidence-based strategies to reduce crashes in the future.

To be eligible to take part in the study the driver must be male, 30 years or younger, hold an open driving licence and get behind the wheel at least five hours a week.

For more information, visit http://www.carrsq.com.au/driving/index.jsp

Media contact:
Sandra Hutchinson, QUT Media (Tue, Wed), 07 3138 9449 or media@qut.edu.au
After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901

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