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Spring 2016 Vol. 3, No. 2

Study finds higher crash risk for truckers with untreated sleep apnea

Yawning truck driver

Photo: iStock

Truck drivers who fail to adhere to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea are five times more likely to be involved in serious, preventable crashes, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota Morris. The project, sponsored in part by the Roadway Safety Institute, is the largest study of sleep apnea and crash risk among commercial motor vehicle drivers to date.

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Improving safety of two-lane roundabouts


Adding roundabouts to intersections on busy roadways is becoming an increasingly common method for improving safety. But while two-lane roundabouts almost always reduce fatal and severe crashes, they can lead to a substantial increase in property-damage crashes. RSI researchers are investigating solutions for this problem with two-lane urban roundabouts.

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Visit puts focus on distracted driving research

Amy Klobuchar speaking

RSI distracted driving research was in the spotlight during a campus visit May 5 by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who toured RSI facilities along with Minnesota high school students, safety leaders, researchers, and advocates. Students took turns behind the wheel of the HumanFIRST lab’s state-of-the art immersive driving simulator, which is used for researching driver distraction and impairment.

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Researcher spotlight: Lee Munnich

Lee Munnich

Lee Munnich brings more than 20 years of state and local government experience to the study of public policy issues at the Roadway Safety Institute. His research focuses on a number of transportation issues including transportation’s role in the community, congestion pricing, rural safety, economic development, and evidence-based transportation safety countermeasures.

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Researcher spotlight: John Hourdos

John Hourdos

John Hourdos has extensive experience with the theoretical and practical aspects of traffic safety as well as traffic flow theory and modeling. As director of the U of M’s Minnesota Traffic Observatory, he works to test and evaluate new transportation strategies and traveler information technologies using a network of video and radar detectors that turn westbound I-94 into a fully instrumented field laboratory.

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Education efforts promote STEM to underrepresented groups

Image of presentation

The Roadway Safety Institute works to increase participation by groups currently underrepresented in STEM fields. In early 2016, the Institute awarded travel scholarships for two female students to attend the WTS Regional Conference held in Indianapolis in February. Then in March, Institute staff taught sessions on pedestrian safety to eighth-grade students as part of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, which promotes college and STEM careers for first-generation college students.

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RSI researcher shares expertise on teen driving

Teen driver

Photo: Shutterstock

Many parents underestimate the dangers of teen driving—and how involved they should be to make it safer. That was the message of two national news stories that featured RSI researcher Nichole Morris of the HumanFIRST Laboratory. In March, Morris, who has conducted extensive research on teen driving, was interviewed for the New York Times and the NBC Today Show for stories on the subject. In April, Morris presented on her teen driving research at the 2016 Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, held in Long Beach, California.

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