Attention and Adaptation of Teen Drivers to Driving Automation Systems

Uncovering the effect of automation on driving for teens is important because given their high crash rate, they may benefit the most from driving automation systems (DASs). However, depending on their experience and abilities, they may be the most prone to distraction and they may have difficulty effectively partnering with DASs. Given that driving is a complex process with high cognitive demands, it’s beneficial to determine how heterogeneity in adolescents’ developing attentional skills, as well as their social awareness, influence engagement with DASs. The objective of this proposed research is to: (1) quantify how teen drivers adapt to DASs over a four-week exposure period; and (2) use neural markers of prefrontal development that reflect attention skills to predict teen drivers’ initial adaptation to DASs and subsequent adaption after repeated exposure. Teen drivers (n = 40) will be recruited from Massachusetts through driving education schools. Participants will begin with a visit to PI McDermott’s laboratory for assessment of behavioral and neural measures of attention and executive functions (e.g., sustained attention, selective attention, working memory, inhibitory control, attention shifting and response monitoring). Afterwards, four driving simulator studies (to be conducted in PI Roberts’ laboratory) spaced approximately one week apart will be conducted to examine teens’ behavioral adaptation to a level 2 DAS. Drivers’ adaptation responses using surrogate driving safety measures will be entered into a one-factor (exposure number) ANOVA to determine whether exposure has an effect on driver response. For the second set of analyses, behavioral and neural measures of attention skills will serve as independent variables to predict efficiency in adaption to DAS at initial introduction as measured by the surrogate driving safety measures.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $80000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    University of Iowa, Iowa City

    National Advanced Driving Simulator, 2401 Oakdale Blvd
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242-5003
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Baystate Roads Program, 214 Marston Hall
    Amherst, MA  United States  01003
  • Principal Investigators:

    Roberts, Shannon

    McDermott, Jennifer

  • Start Date: 20200901
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01738853
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747131
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: May 7 2020 8:14AM