Federal research grant awarded to Injury Free in Hartford

November 15, 2008 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Hartford

Building off of his work on teen driving safety with the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Hartford, Dr. Brendan Campbell (Principal Investigator) and the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children's Medical Center were awarded a three year, $750,000 research grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) research grant program to evaluate the efficacy of driving simulator training for novice teen drivers. The highly competitive grant was one of only four EMSC research grants awarded in the country and the only injury prevention grant.

According to Dr. Campbell, “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity among U.S. teenagers accounting for approximately 5,000 deaths annually”. This randomized control trial, led by the CCMC’s Injury Prevention Center, with the support of the Connecticut Departments of Education and Motor Vehicles, will enroll a representative sample of 12 Connecticut high schools and their 3,600 15, 16, and 17 year old drivers. The first three high schools to participate in the study include Brookfield, Cheshire, and Suffield High Schools. Teen drivers in the intervention group will receive a standardized, 12 lesson computer-based virtual driver training program that has been shown to improve hazard recognition among new drivers. “What’s fundamentally different about our study is that the evaluation will track motor vehicle traffic violations and crashes among subjects enrolled in the study” said Dr. Campbell.

“The results of this study have the potential to significantly improve the methods currently in use to train novice teen drivers and reduce the unacceptably high rate of crashes” said Dr. Jim Parker, Co-PI. Other Injury Free Coalition for Kids personnel working on the study include Kevin Borrup (Project Director), Hassan Saleheen (Research Associate) and Garry Lapidus (Project Advisor). The Injury Prevention Center, out of which the Injury Free program is based, works to reduce unintentional injury and violence through four activities: research, education and training, community safety programs, and public policy/advocacy. For more information contact Kevin Borrup, phone, 860-545-9988.