Driving Towards Safer Roads
Supported by the Neurotrauma Research Program, University of Western Australia Professor Troy Visser and his team are driving research towards safer roads in WA.
For the past 10 years Professor Visser has been developing a computer program that trains the human brain to focus on important tasks and ignore distractions when driving.
Participants are seated in a car simulator and asked to pick out letters amongst a series of distracting digits while driving.
“The program itself is relatively simple computer base training, based on the logic that practice makes perfect,” said Professor Visser.
The results so far have shown that after training, participants are better at doing more of the basic tasks that comes with safe driving, for example lane keeping, responding more promptly and braking at a safer distance.
“These basic performance improvements can make a big difference to the safety on our roads,” he said.
The Neurotrauma Research Program is a West Australian funding scheme that supports research into the devastating consequences of traumatic injury to the brain and spinal cord.
Since 1999, the NRP has secured funding from the State Government, including the Road Safety Council's Road Trauma Trust Fund, which contains the proceeds of speeding fines.
The NRP’s mission is to support projects that help the community to avoid trauma to the nervous system, explore therapies to minimise nerve damage and restore normal neural function. The ultimate goal is to ensure that no-one has to live with permanent disability from spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.
The NRP hopes to continue to assist researchers with their vital work in the long term with the vision that a permanent Neurotrauma Research Centre of International standing will evolve, making it possible for Western Australia to retain its position at the forefront of this exciting and rapidly progressing sphere of science and technology.