Science tells us that the most key skill required for safe driving and crash avoidance is hazard perception (defined as the ability to detect, evaluate and react to visual cues). As a matter of fact, hazard perception skill is the only driving ability that has been shown by science to correlate to a lower crash risk for all drivers.
In one study, just 17 minutes of hazard perception training decreased collisions of young male drivers by 20% in their first year of driving. The United Kingdom system of car control uses a method of training that utilizes commentary driving.
A 10-year study of line of duty deaths in law enforcement in the UK--where commentary driving was vigorously applied--versus the USA., for every death in the UK there were 29 deaths in the USA.
The nine core DriveApps each advance a user's ability to perceive hazards, and in particular the DriveApps Commentary Driving App.
Especially with the advent of cell phones along with texting, emailing, web surfing, cell phone navigation, and calling, the world of distracted driving has reached an unprecedented level. Besides the use of cell phones, drivers can be tempted to eat, drink, adjust the radio, get jiggy with friends, put on makeup, read billboards, and rubberneck (gawk) while driving. Studies show that just talking on one's cell phone reduces a driver's cognition equal to .08 blood alcohol--which defines DUI in most USA states.
And the reality is there is no such thing as "multitasking". The human cognitive mind can actually only do one thing at a time. The semi-equivalent of multitasking is accomplished by very rapidly switching back and forth between or among multiple tasks. This increases cognitive load and challenges individuals to apply essential levels of cognition to each task--including driving. Also, the average text or phone call can fully distract drivers from their key chore (driving) for multiple seconds at a time--very dangerous.
Add to this, the disadvantage young drivers have of insufficient experience to create a viable personal baseline of what situations and potential hazards are normal versus abnormal, and you have a recipe for crashes. It takes time for a new driver to gain the real life experience to produce a viable baseline and to be enabled to constantly process this baseline within the subconscious where the cognitive load is much less demanding than through the conscious.
Based on auto insurance actuary tables, it takes nine years for a driver to develop this viable baseline. This is why at age 25, insurance rates drop precipitously.
But in dealing with the hazards of distracted driving, there are three key realities:
1. All drivers, including young drivers, know what distracted driving is and that it is dangerous. This does not excuse their mentors from enforcing the criticality of distracted driving, and ensuring they know the facts.
2. Every driver is going to drive distracted, no matter what. It is going to happen. We can and should strive to reduce the incidence of distracted driving, but we must accept that it nonetheless will happen.
3. The more experienced and educated a driver is, the less danger they will present as a distracted driver. Experience is zero excuse for driving distracted, but the reality is the better a driver's baseline of abnormal vs normal, the more they are able to process this in the subconscious, and the more knowledgeable they are with respect to recognizing potential hazards, the less at risk they are from the faux pas of distracted driving.
The DriveApps curriculum of fun and entertaining game apps can measurably advance a driver's, particularly a young driver's ability to process potential hazards. The DriveApps program is designed to compress years of driving experience into weeks or months, making any driver safer, better educated, and more aware.
It is critical to ensure that every driver develops strong crash avoidance skills. The DriveApps program includes a number of apps that focus on this. But this is not the best answer.
Statistics show that once in a crash situation, driving skills have less to do with the outcome than we'd like to think. Definitely crash avoidance skills reduce crashes and save lives and injuries. But the most important thing any driver can learn to do is effectively perceive potential hazards and avoid them. Hence, the concept of "Hazard Awareness" might be a candidate to replace the term "Crash Avoidance".
The DriveApps program places great focus on helping a driver learn to perceive the entire universe of potential crash hazards, and how to avoid such situations.