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Study uses virtual reality to measure drug driving behaviour

Rose Trapnell

Study uses virtual reality to measure drug driving behaviour
Credit: Queensland University of Technology
A new study investigating drug driving awareness using virtual reality is aiming to measure if young drivers adopt safer and more responsible driving behaviour.

In a joint project, supported by the Rotary Club of Brisbane, participants sit in the CARRS-Q driving simulator in a safe setting and experience how drug driving could affect their driving abilities.

As part of the Rotary Club of Brisbane's 95th Anniversary celebrations, the simulator will be open to the public in the Brisbane Queen Street Mall Stage from 11am-3pm on Monday 28th May.

Researchers will gather information from participants to see if the virtual reality simulations have an effect on the attitudes of drivers.

Project leader Daniel Vankov said the study would examine the impact of technology-based practices to persuade young drivers to choose responsible driving behaviour.

"From behind the wheel of a virtual car, within a safe environment, drivers' experiences can be altered in a way that affects driving competence," the Ph.D. researcher said.

"We want to examine if that has an effect on the behaviour of the young drivers and document if the technology works in terms of a persuasive tool."

Mr Vankov is also the President of the Rotary Club of Brisbane.

He said Rotary had provided QUT with a free licence to use the European virtual reality software which was valued at $47,000.

He said community awareness was an important tool in researching the effectiveness of driving behaviour.

Fact sheets from CARRS-Q research regarding medication and driving can be viewed here.

A 10-year evaluation of road crashes in Australia estimated that 1 in 4 killed in road crashes tested positive to drugs other than alcohol.

QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).

Provided by Queensland University of Technology