The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 16, 2024

Texas A&M baseball sophomore RF Jace LaViolette is known for his bat — and for good reason. LaViolette ranks sixth in the country in home...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

The path to safer driving; Researchers address accident causing factors

Distracted+Driving
Photo by Provided
Distracted Driving

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, America mourns the loss of over 30,000 lives from motor vehicle accidents each year. A group of researchers from Texas A&M have spent the past few years looking into the root causes behind why these accidents occur.
In the moments leading up to an accident, there are often inhibiting features of the driver’s state — known as “stressors” — that prevents them from addressing the situation properly. The most prominent of these is texting while driving, which is known as a sensorimotor stressor because it diverts both the driver’s sight and hands from their positions of maximum utility. Other stressors are classified as cognitive or emotional, based on whether they demand resources from the mind or emotions.
Stephanie Quinn, associate transportation researcher at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, has been an integral part of the research. Quinn said the ultimate goal would be to find an effective countermeasure for stressor overloads while driving.
“If we do find that a countermeasure is significant, what we will want to do is talk with automotive companies to see if they would like to implement the technique into vehicles,” Quinn said.
Before any solutions are found, the problem needs to be reliably identified. Recent developments in physiological research confirms that it is possible to know when a human has become stressed. Carolina Rodriguez Paras, an industrial engineering graduate student, is helping conduct research on quantifying physiological indicators of emotions in the Human Factors and Cognitive Systems laboratory at Texas A&M.
“Physiological measures, such as heart rate, can reflect the mental state of the person,” Rodriguez Paras said.
Heart rate is not the only indicator worth mentioning. Humans have an irrepressible response to stress that results in perspiration in the “perinasal” area — the patch of skin between the nostrils and upper lip. Quantifying that perspiration with thermal cameras has been shown, by previous research, to be an effective way to measure the amount of stress a person is under.
Currently, the research has shown that all three types of stressors — cognitive, emotional and sensorimotor — dramatically affects the driver’s performance, particularly in emergency situations such as when the vehicle begins to spontaneously accelerate.
One of the leaders of the research team is Thomas Ferris, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering. The trends in the data show that the effects are fairly universal, Ferris said.
“A lot of times they say that the older driver is different,” Ferris said. “But we still see the same sensitivity to these measures.”
The advent of self driving cars could be the answer to putting an end to these stressful situations, but that would still be a ways in the future.
“We can’t abruptly go from ‘I drive my car,’ to ‘Something else drives my car,’” Ferris said.
Ferris said certain features, such as cruise control, have already used automation with great success, but there will always be situations where it is important for a human to have control because they are capable of thinking outside the box.
“I think it’s a very cool concept, but at the same time I think that safety is very important,” Rodriguez Paras said. “If something goes wrong, the person can always operate the car by themselves.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *