A university research project is helping teens learn about what not to do while they drive. Spoiler alert: texting while driving is a bad idea.
Driving simulators are known for many things. Great graphics, high-speed action, and quality explosions? Sure, if they're done right (as seen here in the screenshot for Split/Second). But they aren't really known for helping teach teens to be better drivers. However, newly-revealed research data has shown that a "state-of-the-art driving simulator" is being used to teach teens with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) how to drive more responsibly.
The research comes from Gregory A. Fabiano, an associate professor of counseling, school, and educational psychology at the University of Buffalo. The project, which was recently funded with a massive grant from the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, is a joint-effort between the UB Graduate School of Education and New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation.
Professor Fabiano explained the purpose of his study:
"We had worked with children with ADHD for a long time at the university ... And as those kids grew up, we heard concerns from parents about the transition to independent driving.
"So we did some research and found out results not surprising to anybody. Teen drivers are the worst on the road. And some recent research has shown that compared to that worst group of drivers, teen drivers with ADHD were significantly more at risk for everything."
According to the research, teens who text and drive are actually more impaired than those who drunk drivers: "When they crashed, the researchers found that teens did not realize how dangerous their multi-tasking behavior was until they were in a virtual crash."
I always enjoy hearing how videogame technology is used for legitimate scientific/research purposes. Exactly how long the study will continue remains to be seen, but with the recent grant, it sounds like it'll be going on for a while.