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To reduce car accidents, drivers paid to be recorded

Many drivers in Louisiana get frustrated with red-light cameras positioned at traffic lights. To some drivers, the idea of being recorded as they pass through a public intersection is an invasion of privacy. Their ideas about driving being recorded may change if they were told they could be recorded to reduce car accidents and that they would be paid for their participation. Drivers who are participating in a national study to research driving behaviors are doing just that – being paid to have their driving habits recorded.

As a part of a $50 million effort to learn what drivers really do before car accidents occur, a few thousand drivers around the country will be paid to have their driving habits monitored for up to two years. According to a representative of the Transportation Research Board which is the organization behind the study, investigators have no way of actually knowing what drivers were doing before an accident. Drivers themselves often do not recollect.

Just over 3,000 drivers in six states will participate in the study, and every driving decision made by participants will be documented. In exchange, participating drivers will receive $500 per year for their one year or two year obligation. The drivers’ decisions will be recorded by multiple cameras and devices.

Five cameras will be outfitted on participating drivers’ cars that will keep track of what is in front of the car, behind the car, what the driver is doing and what the driver is viewing. A camera will also monitor whether the driver has passengers. Radar will be attached to the front bumper of the car in order to measure distance between cars. An air sensor will be placed in the car to measure alcohol. Other sensors will measure acceleration, speed and braking.

The results of the study will be used to learn what takes drivers’ attention away from the road. The results will also be used to improve road and car design.

Source: charlotteobserver.com, “Drivers will be recorded for safety,” Bruce Siceloff, Aug. 20, 2011

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