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April 1, 2004

World Health Day: U-M researchers can discuss road safety issues

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Road safety is the theme of this year's World Health Day (April 7), sponsored by the World Health Organization. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) conducts research in traffic safety to help reduce the number of people killed or injured annually in road traffic crashes worldwide—1.2 million deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries.

Some of UMTRI's ( main research areas and experts include:

Driver interface and driver distraction

Automotive controls, displays, navigation systems, cell phones and warnings used while driving; how people drive, tasks they can safely handle and those that are distracting, and where drivers look while they drive. Contact: Paul Green, (734) 763-3795 or

Road departure and collision avoidance systems

Vehicle-based technologies for avoiding run-off-the-road crashes; automotive collision avoidance tests with cars with a combined adaptive cruise control and rear-end crash-warning system. Contacts: Bob Ervin, (734) 936-1066 or; Dave LeBlanc, (734) 936-1063 or

Vehicle lighting

Effects of night-time driving visibility and effectiveness of various types of headlights; driver preferences for tungsten-halogen vs. high intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps; discomfort glare from HID headlamps; night vision-enhancement systems; drivers' use of high- and low-beam headlamps; viability of rear lighting systems and mirror-mounted turn signals; headlight rating system. Contact: Mike Flannagan, (734) 936-1091 or

Impact biomechanics

Mechanical response of human body to dynamic loading and tolerances of different body regions to injury; improved crash-test dummies, test procedures and computer models that simulate occupant kinematics and dynamics and predict likelihood and severity of injury; improvements in restraint systems and methods and equipment for restraining passengers in wheelchairs. Contact: Larry Schneider, (734) 936-1103 or

Truck and bus accident analysis

Transportation safety issues based on actual highway experience; objective information on the performance of the transportation system; interaction of the driver, vehicle and roadway; factors associated with risk of collision and injury. Contact: John Woodrooffe, (734) 936-2070 or

Crash investigation

Detailed vehicle measurements and analysis of information on occupant injuries; performance of occupant protection systems; air bag-induced injuries; offset-frontal crashes; advanced air bags. Contact: Larry Schneider, (734) 936-1103 or

Alcohol and driving

Factors that influence alcohol and driving; drinking and driving prevention programs; alcohol and driving policies; technical support to communities. Contacts: Jean Shope, (734) 764-6328 or; David Eby, (734) 763-8107 or; Raymond Bingham, (734) 615-4711 or

Occupant protection

Use and misuse of occupant protection systems, such as safety belts; trends in state occupant protection use; evaluation of occupant protection programs; technical support to communities. Contact: David Eby, (734) 763-8107 or

Truck driver rollover adviser system

Field testing of the Roll Stability Advisor and Control system, recently developed by Freightliner Corp.; effectiveness of the system in normal commercial operations. Contact: Chris Winkler, (734) 936-1061 or

Real-world testing of driver assistance and safety systems

Differences in driver preferences of vehicle control and functionality of driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control. Contact: Mike Hagan, (734) 936-1068 or

Pedestrian/road worker visibility

Visibility of pedestrians, bicyclists and road workers in daylight and at night; effectiveness of retro-reflective materials and distances at which pedestrians can be seen. Contact: Jim Sayer, (734) 764-4159 or

Mature drivers

Habits and accident risk of drivers over 65; driving reduction or cessation; technology for improving elder mobility; assessment and educational tools for older drivers. Contacts: David Eby, (734) 763-8107 or; Lidia Kostyniuk, (734) 764-0213 or; Jean Shope, (734) 764-6328 or

Young drivers

Factors related to high-risk driving habits of those under 21; programs to reduce risky driving; graduated driver-licensing programs. Contacts: Jean Shope, (734) 764-6328 or; Raymond Bingham, (734) 615-4711 or


E ffects of occupant body dimensions and vehicle interior design factors on driver and passenger posture, position and perception of accommodation and comfort; industry practices and models for vehicle design; criteria for determining levels of occupant accommodation. Contact: Matt Reed, (734) 936-1111 or

Road roughness

Road roughness measurement; development of the International Roughness Index. Contacts: Tom Gillespie, (734) 936-1064 or; Steve Karamihas, (734) 936-1057 or

Auto industry trends, analyses and predictions

Industry research and analysis, information resources and communication forums for automotive and related industries worldwide; distribution, e-commerce, globalization, industry forecasts, information technology, manufacturing investment, safety policy, supply chain management, and sustainable transportation systems. Contacts: Mike Flynn, (734) 936-1360 or; Bruce Belzowski, (734) 936-2704 or


Contact: Bernie DeGroat
Phone: (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847