Introduction Naturalistic driving methods require the installation of instruments and cameras in vehicles to record driving behavior. A critical, yet unexamined issue in naturalistic driving research is the extent to which the vehicle instruments and cameras used for naturalistic methods change human behavior. We sought to describe the degree to which teenage participants' self-reported awareness of vehicle instrumentation changes over time, and whether that awareness was associated with driving behaviors. Method Forty-two newly-licensed teenage drivers participated in an 18-month naturalistic driving study. Data on driving behaviors including crash/near-crashes and elevated gravitational force (g-force) events rates were collected over the study period. At the end of the study, participants were asked to rate the extent to which they were aware of instruments in the vehicle at four time points. They were also asked to describe their own and their passengers' perceptions of the instrumentation in the vehicle during an in-depth interview. The number of critical event button presses was used as a secondary measure of camera awareness. The association between self-reported awareness of the instrumentation and objectively measured driving behaviors was tested using correlations and linear mixed models. Results Most participants' reported that their awareness of vehicle instrumentation declined across the duration of the 18-month study. Their awareness increased in response to their passengers' concerns about the cameras or if they were involved in a crash. The number of the critical event button presses was initially high and declined rapidly. There was no correlation between driver's awareness of instrumentation and their crash and near-crash rate or elevated g-force events rate. Conclusion Awareness was not associated with crash and near-crash rates or elevated g-force event rates, consistent with having no effect on this measure of driving performance. Practical applications Naturalistic driving studies are likely to yield valid measurements of driving behavior.
- Naturalistic driving
- Teenage drivers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality