Can you participate in a driving habits study?

Car drivers are needed for Australia’s Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), being led by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with several other leading universities. This study is part-funded by the NRMA.

OPEN ROAD: Annually around 1,300 people die and 33,000 are seriously injured on Australian roads. Using a new research method, the Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), this study aims to provide Australia with answers to some significant road safety questions.

OPEN ROAD: Annually around 1,300 people die and 33,000 are seriously injured on Australian roads. Using a new research method, the Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), this study aims to provide Australia with answers to some significant road safety questions.

The study aims to improve road safety in Australia by better understanding how people drive in normal and safety-critical situations.

For the study, 360 participant drivers will have their own vehicles equipped for four months with a compact data collection system that records their driving behaviour, the behaviour of their vehicle and their interactions with other road users. The equipment is designed so as not to damage the vehicle or interfere with normal operations of the vehicle.

All vehicles will be equipped with the data collection system at a designated installation site by qualified technicians in Sydney or Melbourne. During the installation process, participants will be invited to complete a series of questionnaires, two physical tests (grip strength and rapid walking) and some non-invasive vision tests.

After that, participants will drive their vehicle as they normally would and, after four months, complete an exit questionnaire and have the data collection equipment removed by a qualified technician.

Participants, who participate satisfactorily, will receive a $250 GiftPay Shopping vouchers, ($125 given at start of installation and $125 upon deinstallation of the equipment).

To be eligible for this study, participants need to:

  • ​be between 20 and 70 years of age;
  • hold a valid NSW or Victorian driver’s licence (full licence only);
  • be the registered owner or have permission from the registered owner of the vehicle you intend to drive;
  • reside in Sydney, regional NSW, Melbourne, or regional Victoria;
  • own a registered passenger vehicle (sedan, coupe, hatchback, station wagon, or sports utility vehicle/four-wheel drive) or have owner permission to use a registered passenger vehicle; and
  • drive at least 10 trips a week.

Interested? register for the study.

If you have any further questions, please visit www.a​nds.unsw.edu.au or contact ANDS@unsw.edu.au​. Thanks.

Australian Naturalistic Driving Study FAQs

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

 

Why You Should Never Put Your Feet On The Dash

Passenger feet are seen on dashboards everyday but would that be the case if travelers understood the dangers associated with ‘resting their legs’?

Don't rest easy: It's not illegal to put feet up on the dashboard but that doesn't mean you should do it.

Don’t rest easy: It’s not illegal to put feet up on the dashboard but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

Putting your feet on the dashboard is dangerous and potentially fatal. Upon impact passenger frontal airbags are deployed from inside the dashboard so if your feet are up at the height of the dash your legs will be pushed upward rather than keeping your legs and lower body secured in a seated position.

Is it illegal?

NSW Road Rule 268 covers how persons must travel in or on a motor vehicle, however it does not mention the specifics on seating positions or having feet on the dashboard. So it’s not illegal but still should never be practiced, on the off chance your airbags are deployed while your feet are resting on the dash.

Frontal airbags generally deploy in head-on collisions where the force of the impact is greater than hitting a solid object at a speed greater than 25km/h. In head-on collisions with a stopped vehicle, the speed would generally need to be significantly higher than 25km/h for the airbags to deploy. This means that even a minor crash can cause serious damage if you are caught with your legs or feet resting on the dash.

Knee airbags are also deployed to keep your lower legs safe upon impact, but only if your feet are rested on (or close to) the floor. If these airbags were to push your legs and knee caps towards your face it could result in horrific injuries.

Crashes are unavoidable sometimes due to other driver’s mistakes and a vehicles safety features (i.e airbags) provide protection from injury. The vehicle structure, seat belt system and airbags are all designed to provide crash protection. However these features don’t work as intended if the person in the car is not sitting upright in the vehicle.

So next time you see feet up on the dashboard remind your loved ones to put them back on the floor where the vehicle’s airbags can keep you as safe as possible.

Would this information make you think twice about ‘riding shotgun’ with your feet on the dash?

Membership with the NRMA means more than just roadside assistance, see what your Membership can do for you.

The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

While we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

Ask NRMA: Is driving with headphones legal?

Driving with earphones

TAKE THEM OUT: Don’t drive with earphones

Have you seen people drive while wearing headphones?

Although wearing headphones while driving is not explicitly illegal, the practice is dangerous and could result in prosecution if deemed to be the cause of an accident.

A distraction, including wearing headphones emitting loud music while driving, could come under NSW Road Rule 297(1). This section of the Road Rules is a catch all provision that covers any distraction that causes a driver not to have proper control of a vehicle and, for example, have an accident.

LEARN MORE: What can police fine you for?
LEARN MORE: The benefits of Free2go for young drivers

In some circumstances it may also be possible that the sound coming from the headphones causes a significant enough distraction for the driver not to have proper control of a vehicle, that a police officer issues an infringement notice even where there isn’t an accident (for example where there is a near miss situation).

It’s also worth noting that loud music being emitted from vehicles causing an ‘offensive noise’ comes under Sections 16 & 17 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008. However, this would likely be difficult to prosecute and would not be an issue with headphones.

Drivers should always be alert to what is happening around them. By using headphones, the driver is likely to be less aware of the surrounding traffic conditions. If you wear headphones that dull or block out other sounds, you may not hear sirens or horns, which could get you and other drivers into big trouble. It’s simple, your hearing is an essential tool in your overall driving skills package.

Do you often see people driving with headphones? Do you think this practice should be made illegal?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

Whilst we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

Keeping your pets safe when driving

Love That Pet - Dog in car

Every year in Australia over 5000 dogs are injured in motor vehicle accidents. Whether it is a short or a long trip, making sure your pet is properly secured protects you, your pet and other passengers from serious injury.

As a vet, I have seen some serious injuries from falls and crashes where pets were not properly restrained. For example, a young pup taking its first trip on the back of a ute in the centre of Sydney fell off. Thankfully he escaped with only minor injuries and it was a great reminder that dogs should always be tethered on utes.

Inside the car, an unrestrained pet can form a very heavy and dangerous projectile. Even at low speeds of around 20km/h your pet could end up flying through the windscreen should you hit another vehicle. If you really want to scare yourself, check out this YouTube video showing some crash test doggies in simulated crashes designed to test some common car restraints.


So how do we keep our pets safe?

Firstly it is illegal in all states of Australia to have our pets sitting on our lap during the drive. We’ve all seen it, we may have even done it before, but there are so many reasons why this is dangerous. While I consider myself to be an excellent driver, accidents do happen and of course they are never my fault!

The other legalities of travelling with pets are state specific, but country-wide a pet must be properly restrained and not interfering with the driver’s ability to concentrate. Owners can also be fined under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if their animal is injured in an accident due to being improperly restrained.

So what sort of restraint should I use?

Pet-Seatbelts from petco.comThere are a number of different options available. Unfortunately not all of them set out to perform as they should..  If you are tethering using a seatbelt harness, check that it has been crash tested at a realistic speed, at least 35 km/h. If using a pet travel carrier ensure that it is very well secured as it can become a lethal object in a crash, with or without a pet inside. The best place for any pet or carrier is behind a cargo barrier in the rear of the vehicle. If this is not possible, secure the carrier with the seat belt around it.

Travel with cats and small furries

Cats and smaller creatures like ferrets and rodents should always be in a proper cat carrier in a vehicle. My favourite story to convince owners to ensure their cats are secure involves a tiny kitten that managed to escape its owner’s arms in a car and ended up hiding behind the steering wheel column. The car had to be taken apart to get the terrified kitten out. Cats love to hide so the best way to transport them is in a proper cat carrier behind a cargo barrier or with the seatbelt secured around it. Visit here to find some tips on how to safely and easily get your cat into the carrier.

So how do you keep your pets safe in the car? What sort of restraint do you have?

Dr-Eloise-BrightAuthor Bio: With 7 years of small animal vet practice in Sydney, Dr. Eloise Bright from www.lovethatpet.com is an animal lover and advocate for all animals from baby birds to stray kittens. Chat with her and her dog, Duster and cat, Jimmy on Google+.