Iowa State University researchers are trying to develop a computer program that’ll analyze video to try and find out why drivers disobey stop signs. Derrick Parkhurst is an assistant professor of psychology and human computer interaction. He says they set up a camera and use digital techniques to track the positions of vehicles and pedestrians in an intersection. He says this helps them understand why it is that people run stop signs. Parkhurst says there could be a variety of reasons for drivers failing to stop. He says they could be distracted by being on a cellphone, or they could be rushed and just disobey the stop sign. He says their research will color in the picture of problem intersections that until now has been mostly black and white statistics. He says normally when the Department of Transportation does a study to see if an intersection maybe needed to be safer, they count the number of accidents that happen over a long period of time. Parkhurst says it can sometimes take a whole year to do a study using the D-O-T approach. And he says there’s no way to know a lot of what happens in an intersection. He says with their technology they can record events that don’t necessarily create an accident, like a near miss. He says that’s important to know in determining problems and it’s something you don’t get out of a crash report. The Iowa D-O-T has given researchers a 10-thousand dollar grant to support the research.
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