Acoustic and Semantic Warning Parameters Impact Vehicle Crash Rates
Baldwin, Carryl L
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Auditory Collision Avoidance Systems (CASs) are increasingly common in the modern automobile. Verbal warnings are increasingly being used in aviation and medical environments; but, they have received considerably less attention in the driving research community. Here, I discuss a recent series of investigations aimed at examining the impact of acoustic and semantic warning parameters on crash rates and drivers' perceptions of perceived urgency, alerting effectiveness, and annoyance. Drivers were exposed to high crash risk scenarios in a high fidelity driving simulator. Just prior to the potential crash event, drivers received a verbal warning that varied in signal word (e.g., Notice, Danger) or presentation level (e.g., 70 dB and 85 dB). Experiment 1 demonstrated that drivers' crash rates were reduced significantly by CAS warnings of intermediate urgency relative to either low or high urgency warnings. Experiment 2 demonstrated that auditory CAS warnings of intermediate urgency were particularly effective in reducing the crash rates of drivers over the age of 65 years. The implications of these investigations for improving automotive warnings and highway safety will be discussed.