By Debbie Hersman
This week representatives from Toyota — Chuck Gulash, Jim Foley, and Kevin Ro — briefed NTSB Board members and staff about the work being done by Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center, or CSRC. The CSRC is teaming up with leading North American institutions on $50 million of safety research on distraction as well as the safety of vulnerable populations, including young passengers, newly licensed teens, and aging drivers.
In one project, CSRC is working with Dr. Linda Angell and Dr. Justin Owen of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) to better understand driver distraction. Dr. Angell will be participating at the NTSB’s March 27 Attentive Driving — Countermeasures for Distraction forum and will talk about her experience with vehicle technology countermeasures.
In a project with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention, the CSRC research is focused on improving crash data collection. This, in turn, will help in designing better restraints and other protections for our most vulnerable passengers. Dr. Kristy Arbogast of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia spoke at our 2010 Child Passenger Safety forum and stressed the importance of conducting public health surveillance on children involved in crashes to understand emerging trends and problems.
The CSRC is also funding projects on aging drivers, which NTSB addressed in late 2010 at its forum on Safety, Mobility, and Aging Drivers. One of these projects is also with VTTI and is looking at how to improve the driving performance of older drivers by evaluating countermeasures to address our narrowing field of vision as we age.
The CSRC’s research is non-proprietary and is being shared across the transportation community and with the public on CSRC’s website. Toyota has funded and implemented an outstanding model to improve automobile safety. We look forward to following their work in the coming years.