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A novel health-transportation partnership paves the road for young driver safety through virtual assessment

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of adolescent mortality and injury in the United States. For young drivers, crash risk peaks immediately after licensure and declines during the next two years, making the point of licensure an important safety intervention opportunity. Legislation in Ohio established a unique health-transportation partnership among the State of Ohio, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Diagnostic Driving, Inc., to identify underprepared driver license applicants through a virtual driving assessment system. The system, a computer-based virtual driving test, exposes drivers to common serious crash scenarios to identify critical skill deficits and is delivered in testing centers immediately before the on-road examination. A pilot study of license applicants who completed it showed that the virtual driving assessment system accurately predicted which drivers would fail the on-road examination and provided automated feedback that informed drivers on their skill deficits. At this time, the partnership’s work is informing policy changes around integrating the virtual driving assessment system into licensing and driver training with the aim of reducing crashes in the first months of independent driving. The system can be developed to identify deficits in safety-critical skills that lead to crashes in new drivers and to address challenges that the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has introduced to driver testing and training.


  • Elizabeth A. Walshe
  • Daniel Romer
  • Venkatesh Kandadai
  • Flaura K. Winston