MIT AgeLab researches distracted driving - click above to watch video after the jump

Auto Observer recently sat down with researchers at the MIT AgeLab to learn more about a new study about distracted driving and how it changes as we age. By placing drivers of various ages into a simulator, researchers can collect data related to distraction. After studying conditions such as heart rate and eye movement, it becomes clear that different age groups are distracted by different stimuli. For example, young people have a harder time tuning out in-car distractions like text messages and cell phones, while older drivers are more impacted by sirens and flashing lights outside of the vehicle.

Researcher Bryan Reimer said that in most cases, reducing distracted driving isn't so much a matter of leveraging technology to make current car features easier to use; instead, it's more about properly educating drivers about said features before they hit the road .

AgeLab also investigated a number of other driving-related technologies, including automated parallel parking systems like the one found on the 2010 Lincoln MKS to discern how drivers of various ages would adapt to theem. Hit the jump to see a video on the research.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      caddy-v
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is funny! One of the worse drivers I've encountered was a student from MIT that I hired as summer help and had three accidents in two months, all rear ending a stopped car in front of him.
      sirjaysmith
      • 3 Years Ago
      "" instead, it's more about properly educating drivers about said features before they hit the road ."" *gasp* you mean someone knowing how to work their car is safer? They should see what happens when a driver actually pays attention and drives with common sense, but I guess that's another study for another day.....
      Skylar Ross Toups
      • 3 Years Ago
      What's distracting is that is a man driving a New Beetle.
        MachDelta
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Skylar Ross Toups
        I know a guy that drives a new beetle. And get this - he had it painted with purple chameleon paint. It's a pretty sad sight.
      Matt.P
      • 3 Years Ago
      The report sounds a little bit confusing, but the last statement defines the main point: "better health = better driver". Age places no further demand in cardiovascular reactivity. Instead, your health status, diseases, and medication become significant factors to poor driving. Makes sense. I should add that age is often associated with health problems. The average lifestyle in North America consists of little physical activity, lack of sleep, and below-average nutrition. I believe that this research addresses only a small segment of healthy individuals among all age groups.
      LifeLongCarGuy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't buy that older drivers are as safe as younger drivers. There has been numerous studies on the effects of age and the decline of cognitive ability that effects reaction time and reflex input of older drivers. I hope MIT didn't put such a nice lab together to prove otherwise. If so then perhaps that lab and the extracted data could be put to use to try to come up with methods that improve driving ability by avioding distractions.
      PiCASSO
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought I was watching Test Drive 1 and 2 games on the big screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fif3mb3TkKc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFMSNrDupmk [BTW, I hate this new comment system... I have to sign in EVERYTIME, and that's uber annoying]
      Cygel White
      • 3 Years Ago
      In reference to this statement made in this article, "young people have a harder time tuning out in-car distractions like text messages and cell phones," I would like to introduce technology that can help eliminate this problem its called drivereply. It can be viewed at drivereply.com and these are the features it offers. Safely monitor the a Smartphone's incoming calls and text messages while the vehicle is traveling at a rate of speed at or greater than 10-15MPH • Provide customization in auto-reply messages for inbound calls and inbound text messages while the vehicle is in motion • Provide personalized responses, so that a recipient would be identified by name in automated replies received • Provide a No-Reply List (blacklist)for individuals that will not receive automated replies from the app user • Provide a My Drive 5™ List (whitelist) for important individuals that user designates must get through with phone calls or text messages (to the user) in the event of a possible emergency • Provide a passenger selection option, should the user be a passenger, rather than a driver, and desire to disable the auto-reply function of the app • Provide a Battery Alert System to notify a driver that their battery is running low, so that the driver can safely pull over to plug the phone in to a charging system and maintain theDriveReply™ service • DriveReply™ is available in English and Spanish language versions
      kingrat001
      • 3 Years Ago
      The main problem is that younger people do dopey stuff when they drive. Texting, reading, watching videos on the DVD player, etc, are all stuff that kids do, hopefully, they grow out of it. Older people's problems are mostly due to them being in no condition to drive anymore. Go to your local DMV and watch the show. There is at least one person who renews their license who should be allowed to, every time I'm in there. A friend of mine buys and sells a lot of cars due to having a carload of kids and stepkids, and he sees them all the time when he goes in to register or transfer a car. They are confused, can barely see or hear, and yet, they have no problems getting renewed. You can spot them sometimes before they even get out of their car! On the other side of that, a friend of mine's dad is 87, and is totally competent to drive. He acts about 20 years younger than his actual age, and looks it. My friend is 57, and I loved telling him his dad is a better driver than he is.
        kingrat001
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kingrat001
        Obviously, I meant to say they shouldn't be allowed to renew their license.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]