Trauma in motor vehicle crashes is a major societal problem. Globally, road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of death. In the United States, motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for older children and young adults and resulted in almost 33,000 deaths last year. This figure is expected to increase to over 34,000 deaths this year.
My research focuses on reducing death and injury from physical trauma, particularly in civilian and military motor-vehicle crashes and under body blast events to military vehicles by:
- collecting field (i.e., real-world) data and developing innovative analysis methods to characterize the factors that influence injury causation and the type of pre-hospital triage care needed,
- conducting laboratory testing and performing computational simulations that quantify human mechanical responses and tissue tolerances to dynamic loading, and
- developing criteria and tools for assessing the risk of injury that will aid in the development of countermeasures to reduce or eliminate injury, and
- applying these tools and criteria, as well as transportation data-analysis methods, to assess injury prevention technologies such as seat belts and crash-avoidance systems.
My research on civilian passenger vehicle injuries applies to all motor-vehicle occupants. However, my most recent work has focused on improving occupant protection for vulnerable segments of the population, including the obese, the elderly, and women.
I am interested in the etiology of injuries and fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes from a human factors and behavioral standpoint. I conduct research using a variety of methodologies in order to uncover and disseminate evidence that can contribute to the safe mobility of road users, that can inform policy, and that can lead to technological and educational innovations for improving the road safety record and for reducing injury. My research covers driver behavior and traffic safety with a focus on automated and connected vehicles, young and novice drivers risk behaviors; training and intervention; and, distraction detection and mitigation. My research projects in these areas use various approaches and methodologies including driving simulation, test tracks, naturalistic methods, and observational methods.