N.W. Mullen, M. Bédard, J. A. Riendeau, T. J. Rosenthal

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Pages: 33-44

In-vehicle lane departure warning systems are designed to decrease the number of vehicle crashes that result from drivers unintentionally leaving the boundary of their lane (e.g., due to fatigue or distraction). We conducted a pilot validation study to examine whether drivers would respond to a simulated in-vehicle lane departure warning device in the simulated environment in a similar fashion to how we would expect drivers to respond in the real world. Twenty licensed drivers (aged 18-28 years) completed a 20-minute rural drive in a STISIM Drive® simulator. We randomly assigned participants to control or experimental groups, stratified by gender (4 males, 6 females per group). Experimental participants completed the drive with a simulated lane departure warning device. The device provided auditory feedback (rumble strip sound) when the vehicle’s front left tire approached or crossed the center line, and when the front right tire approached or crossed the edge line at the side of the road. The feedback ceased when the vehicle returned to a more central lane position. Results showed that the lane departure warning device decreased the number of edge line crossings during the simulated drive (p = .03, Cliff’s d = .50) and the number of drivers who crossed the edge line (p = .01, φ. = 2.00). It did not affect participants’ mean lateral lane position, but did decrease the width of lane that drivers used (i.e., the standard deviation of lateral position; p < .001, gadj = 3.85). These results are in accordance with the hypotheses. Contrary to the hypotheses, however, the device did not decrease center line crossings. This may be due to a floor effect; 9 of the 10 control group drivers did not cross the center line. Survey results showed that experimental participants considered this type of device necessary in the real world, appropriate, and effective, and supported the idea of greater implementation; hence, it was socially valid. Overall, the lane departure warning system developed for the STISIM Drive® simulator affected simulated driving in a similar manner to how lane departure warning systems should affect on-road driving.

Keywords: lane departure; simulator validity

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