Fri August 26, 2011
Drivers needed for national driving study
By Joyce Kryszak
Buffalo, NY – A local research company is recruiting 450 drivers to take part in a national driving behavior study.
A hard drive placed in the trunk of each vehicle will capture data from a series of cameras and radar attached to the inside of the vehicle.
The images will tell researchers how close a driver is following other vehicles, how fast they are traveling, and if they are driving aggressively or are distracted because of things such as texting or other passengers in the vehicle.
CUBRC is conducting the local portion of the national transportation study. Vice President Mike Moskal said the goal is to try to figure out what is happening out there on the road in real time.
"This is a study, the first of its kind. Where we're going to be able to collect data over a very long period of time, over a very wide set of conditions," said Moskal.
Information collected and analyzed over a 33 month period will be used to possibly make changes in vehicle design, operation or road signage to make driving safer.
But at what cost to privacy? Moskal said there are strict privacy rules.
"There are very strong federal laws in place that protect the confidentiality of the data and the anonymity of the data," said Moskal.
Still, CUBRC so far has only recruited 150 of the 450 participants needed for the local portion of the study. Younger people ages 16 to 25 and people over 75 are especially being encouraged to participate.
The study pays each participant $500 a year for their inconvenience. Even with compensation, Moskal said younger drivers are particularly difficult to recruit.
"I think that certainly awareness is part of it," said Moskal. "But I also tend to believe that it has to do with perhaps the attitudes of younger drivers and not wanting to have these type of devices in their vehicles.
CUBRC is being paid roughly seven million dollars to conduct the study here and also in Tampa. They've hired about a dozen people. He says it could have a five million dollar impact on the local economy each year for the next twenty years.
"We're not in the business of employing people for a couple of years," said Moskal. "Our goal here is to take the work that we do now and expand it to the next step."
More information about the study and how to qualify to be a participant is available at Driving Study.