Local News

Study looks at behavior of Triangle drivers

Posted August 9, 2011

— A federal project is studying the driving behavior of about 3,000 people in six states, including North Carolina. 

"We're actually getting in the car with the driver to see what's happening prior to the crash," said Martha Wilaby, Triangle site manager of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program’s Naturalistic Driving Study.

Researchers install cameras in a car to record the driver's movements. There's also a radar on the front of the vehicle to measure its distance from other cars.

Researchers will study the data to find underlying causes of crashes and congestion.

About 150 drivers have signed up for the study in the Triangle. Organizers say the program is open to 300 more drivers. 

Drivers are paid $500 per year, and the study could last for up to two years. Every six months, organizers hold a drawing and award an extra $1,000 to one of the drivers. 

The study is recruiting drivers of all ages, but organizers are trying to find more drivers younger than 25 and older than 65.

To participate, drivers must own or lease a qualifying vehicle, live within about 50 miles of Morrisville, and be willing to complete questionnaires.

Wilaby says all of the data collected will remain confidential.

Study looks at Triangle drivers Study looks at Triangle drivers

"If you're in a horrible crash, even if it's your fault and we have it on video, we can't be compelled to present that data," she said. 

Wilaby says the data could make driving safer. 

"This could be used in legislation about cell phone use or...other safety devices on cars. It could be very useful," she said. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • lokitzl Aug 11, 2011

    As a 2 Yr transplant from NJ having heard for some many yrs how terrible NJ drivers are, I now believe driving in Wake county is far more dangerous. Drivers tail gait and don't signal. Drivers also use their cell phones. I've written to government officials about these conditions. It is great that there is a drivers study. Based on the comments below, the cost can be covered by ticketing offenders. I believe changing or enforcing the driving rules could save lives and lower medical/insurance costs.

  • lprop Aug 10, 2011

    After what is going on in Washington, You allow this to be published.These people must be in an internship training for a job in Washington. This could pay a teacher's salary for several years.

  • barownerx2 Aug 10, 2011

    Someones son or daughter gradurated from college and needed a job, so the government created one for them as a favor. This happens all the time if you know the right people.

  • smegma Aug 10, 2011

    i'm sure this is costing us millions

  • makemyday Aug 10, 2011

    What a waste of money. I can give them the results for a whole lot cheaper.....There are alot of non driving people driving around. Simple as that. What do they hope to accomplish with this study?

  • danunger Aug 10, 2011

    A LOT of money would be saved on this project if they just stationed police in different places with a video camera, then review the footage. All of the reason below are just what is happening out there....inattentive driving. Oh yeah, I agree that Fayetteville is a madhouse to drive in, do it every day.

  • pooodaddy Aug 10, 2011

    My Dad spent a year here and he was blown away that NOBODY uses their turn signal aka a blinker for us Yankees. Loud pipes save lives!

  • lcornetti2 Aug 10, 2011

    i think the number one reason for incidents is that people don't signal their lane changes. It's ridiculous the way cars just wander over into adjacent lanes. If they indicated their intention the other drivers would be forewarned. Law enforcement vehicles don't set a good example in this, either.

  • mfarmer1 Aug 10, 2011

    >> Another waste of hard working tax paying citizens.

    Yep, I am sure if you get the results from New York Or Texas It Would Be The Same.

  • geoherb1 Aug 10, 2011

    "One question, does everyone not know that you should drive in the right lane unless passing?"

    At the same time, do you not know that the speed limit is the maximum speed allowed by law? I don't get how people complain when someone is breaking one law while they happily breaking another.

    The biggest problem around here is that too many people are in a hurry. They speed, they switch lanes without giving signals, they run red lights, they don't stop completely at stop signs, they ignore pedestrian crossings, etc. All to save a few minutes.