YouTube Videos Fail To Show Whole Story
February 25, 2015
YouTube videos of alcohol use by young people fail to show the whole story and can be a dangerous influence on teens. This conclusion is the result of a study conducted by the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, at the University of Pittsburgh and published in the journal Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research.
The study’s authors looked at 70 of the most popular YouTube videos regarding alcohol intoxication. Combined, the videos had a total of more than 333.2 million views and the number of “like” designations totaled more than 99 percent compared to less than one percent of “dislikes.” Twenty-four percent of the videos involved the use of motor vehicles.
The problem with the videos, according to the researchers, is that the videos portray alcohol use in a funny or glamorous way without showing any of the negative aspects of alcohol abuse. Negative aspects of alcohol use include, but aren’t limited to; vomiting, sexual assault, car crashes, arrest, and death by alcohol poisoning.
For parents, these videos open up an opportunity to start a dialogue with teens about those negative aspects of alcohol abuse that aren’t portrayed in the YouTube videos.
Read more: Hammered And Heedless: Do Dangerous Drinking Videos Harm Teens?
Passengers Affect Teen Safe Driving Attitude
February 24, 2015
Teen passengers can have a big affect on a teen driver’s safe driving attitude according to a recent study published in the journal Health Psychology. According to the research, a teen passenger’s personal attitudes about risky driving habits can influence the teen driver to engage in risky driving behaviors.
It has long been known that, the more teen passengers there are in a teen driver’s car, the greater the risk of a crash. According to a 2012 study by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, a teen driver’s risk of involvement in a deadly crash increases by 44 percent with one teen passenger in the vehicle. The risk doubles with two teen passengers and quadruples with three or more passengers.
According to the new study, a teen driver is more willing to engage in risky driving behaviors if he (this is especially true for male teens) perceives that his passengers approve of those risky behaviors. The passengers don’t have to specifically tell the driver to take risks but can give subtle clues of their approval.
To find out why this was so, the researchers studied 66 teen drivers in a simulated driving situation. The teens were told that they were being paired up for the simulation with another randomly selected teen (actually a young looking research assistant). The research assistants played two different rolls. Upon first meeting one assistant would arrive late and say “Sorry I was a little late getting here. Normally I drive way faster, but I hit like every red light.” The other research assistant would tell his teen partner “Sorry I was a little late getting here. I tend to drive slowly, plus I hit every yellow light.”
The teen was then asked if his partner could try out the simulator first “just for fun”. The research assistant who said he tended to drive fast would then “drive” the simulator without using a seat belt and in an aggressive manner. The assistant who said he typically drove slowly obeyed the traffic rules and drove as safely as he could.
The research subjects were then given the opportunity to drive the simulated course alone and then with their partner as a passenger. Their driving behavior was measured by tracking whether or not the subject failed to stop for red lights and how much time was spent in the intersection after the light turned red.
All the research subjects tended to take more risks when they had a passenger with them but those with the aggressive driving partner took far more risks that those with the risk-averse partner. Even though they had just met their passenger and the passenger didn’t pressure the teen drivers in any way, the teen drivers tended to adopt the risky or safe driving attitude of their passengers.
According to research by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, only 10 percent of teens correctly view passengers as potentially hazardous. Teen peer pressure can be overt or it can be subtle. Teens who ride as passengers in another teen’s vehicle should be taught that it’s OK to tell the driver to stop his or her risky behavior. Both teen drivers and teen passengers need to be taught that the actions of passengers can be distracting to the teen driver and taught to modify their behavior accordingly.
Ask The Driving School Instructor: What’s The Best Way To Take A Driving Test?
February 13, 2015
Question: What is the best way to take the written driving test?
Answer: A lot of people have what educators refer to as “test anxiety.” They get so nervous about a test that, even though they may know the material, their anxiety about the test can make even an easy test hard. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips to help you be prepared for the test.
Before we go on, we first have to have to understand how the test works and learn a couple of terms. Most state tests are given by computer. The questions come from a large database of up to 1,000 questions and the computer will randomly pick the required number of questions from that database. Because the original database of questions is so large, if you should fail the test and have to take it again, you probably won’t see many of the same questions on your second test.
Each question will consist of the question, only one correct answer, and two or three wrong answers known as “distractors.“
Depending on the state, you may or may not have a time limit in which to take the test. In the case of Florida’s test, you have one hour to answer 50 questions. That means you have two full minutes for each question. That really is a long time and you won’t spend a full two minutes on each question so that gives you more time to answer the harder ones.
So here’s the best way to take the test.
1. Know the material! No matter how smart you may be, if you haven’t studied the material, you stand a good chance of failing the test. For the driving test, the best source of study is the state driver’s handbook. You can get a printed copy from the DMV or download a free copy online from your state’s DMV website. For Floridians, you can download a free copy here: Florida Driver Handbook. You can also take practice tests online that will help you prepare for the test.
2. Read the question carefully! A lot of questions are missed because the test taker didn’t read the question correctly. Take your time and read it carefully so you know exactly what kind of answer the question is looking for.
3. Read all of the answers/distractors carefully. One single word can turn an answer from a correct answer into a distractor.
4. Eliminate the wrong answers. If you aren’t completely sure of the correct answer, you can help yourself by eliminating the wrong answers first. Then you can more easily choose the correct answer.
5. “All of the above” or “none of the above” isn’t always the correct answer; don’t automatically choose those answers without reading all of the other answers first.
6. If there is more than one answer that you absolutely know is true, then “all of the above” is probably the correct answer.
7. If there is one answer that you know for sure is correct, then “none of the above” won’t be the correct answer.
8. If you aren’t sure of the correct answer and you have two answers that appear to be correct, read each one carefully and look for that possible single word that could turn it into a wrong answer. If, after eliminating the ones you know are wrong, you still aren’t sure, then go with your best guess.
9. Your first choice is probably the best choice. Don’t try to second guess yourself and go back and change an answer. The only time you should go back and try to change an answer is if a later question makes you realize that you were wrong on the previous question. Still, don’t change it unless you are absolutely positive that you were wrong the first time. If you aren’t sure, leave it alone. Remember that you’re using up time to go back and change an answer.
Florida Driving Test Changed
February 11, 2015
The written portion of the Florida driving test was changed last year and, apparently, a lot of people are having a hard time passing the newer version.
According to the Florida Department of Highways and Motor Vehicles, the old test hadn’t been updated in 20 years and many of the questions could be found online so it was decided that the time had come to update the test.
According to a spokesman for the Duval County, FL Tax Collector’s office, the previous test had a failure rate of about 40 percent. Since the new test was introduced, the failure rate statewide has increased to almost 70 percent.
The previous test consisted of a total of 40 questions with 20 questions on road rules and 20 on road signs. The new test consists of 50 questions with 45 on road rules and 5 on road signs and it also also requires a passing rate of 80% compared to the old passing rate of 75 percent.
There was no time limit on the old version of the test but the new test has a time limit of one hour.
The new test draws the 50 questions from a total database of 1200 questions so if someone has to take the test again, he or she is unlikely to see the same question twice. There’s no charge for the first test but, if a prospective driver fails the test, each re-test costs an additional $10 plus a $6.25 service fee for a total of $16.25.
Before attempting to take the Florida driving test, prospective drivers should study the driving handbook and can benefit from taking online practice tests.
Read more: DMV: More people failing after driving test change
Teen Driving App Effective In Modifying Teen Driving Behavior
February 9, 2015
A teen driving app for smartphones, developed by the University of Minnesota’s HumanFIRST Laboratory, is showing a lot of promise as an effective tool to modify teen driving behavior and keep teen drivers safe on the road.
There have been a lot of apps and different products developed over the years with the same intent but the developers of this app claim that this is the first developed based on years of scientific research.
Funded with $2.5 million by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the HumanFIRST Laboratory spent almost ten years examining the issues surrounding teen crashes and developing the app. Those studies were followed up by a year-long, in-vehicle study involving teens and their parents.
The teen driving app is known as the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS) and among other things, the app:
- Prohibits the use of cell phones while the vehicle is in motion except to make 911 calls.
- Warns the teen driver if he or she is speeding or running a stop sign or red light.
- Warns that the teen is driving aggressively.
- Warns the teen that parents will be notified if the dangerous driving behavior continues.
- Notifies parents via text message if the warnings fail to stop the dangerous driving behavior.
- Provides parents with a website that documents the teen’s driving behavior over a longer period of time.
In the in-vehicle study, cars belonging to teen drivers were outfitted with instrumentation to record their driving behavior and the teen drivers were divided into three groups:
- Drivers with no app (control group).
- Drivers with app that provided warnings but didn’t notify parents.
- Drivers with app that provided warnings and notified parents.
The teen drivers without the app showed a greater tendency to engage in distracting and risky behaviors such as, speeding more than seven mph over the posted speed limit and using the cell phone both for calls and texting while driving. The app that only provided warnings was highly effective in modifying teen driving behavior but, as might be expected, the app that provided both warnings and parental notification had the most dramatic effect on the teen’s driving behavior.
Both the teens and parents involved in the study gave the driving app high marks although, also to be expected, the teens weren’t as enthusiastic about the app as their parents:
- 60 to 75 percent of teens had a favorable opinion of the system.
- More than 90 percent of parents had a favorable opinion of the system and;
- 90 percent of parents would recommend the app to other parents of teen drivers.
While the TDSS teen driving app isn’t yet available for general use, the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization is studying the system and the team hopes it will be available for general use within a year.
Read more: App developed at U alerts teens, parents to risky driving
PowerPoint presentation with study results: Supporting New Teen Drivers During Independent Driving