The DIA have teamed up with tyre giant Goodyear to launch a VR 360-degree gaming app to make young drivers aware of the extreme dangers of driver distraction.
The Driving Academy app utilises the Google Cardboard to create a realistic situation involving distractions one can encounter when behind the wheel. By rotating your head, the app picks up eye movements to identify where you are looking and points are gained by demonstrating safe driving.
Alternatively, making eye contact with things you shouldn’t be taking notice of, loses points.
Research commissioned by Goodyear Tyres as part of their Young Driver programme shows that nearly a quarter of drivers aged 17-25 (23%) say their behaviour worsens when they have a friend in their car.
The study also showed one third (32%) of young drivers said they don’t concentrate as much on the road when their friends are in the car, whilst a further 30% said they feel more stressed, stretching to 40% of drivers aged 20-22.
The aim of the gaming app is to make young drivers more aware of the distractions that they could face when their time behind the wheel arrives. Being able to identify distractions through the game will help contribute to their awareness in the real life situation.
Carly Brookfield, CEO of the DIA, said: “Teaching new drivers how important it is to keep concentration whilst behind the wheel is one of the most important things our instructors do. It’s crucial this issue remains a talking point when it comes to improving road safety for young drivers.”
The game incorporates distractions such as billboard advertisements and an active mobile phone, where usage is still prominent in young drivers while behind the wheel. A staggering 40% of young drivers said they have used their mobile phone illegally whilst driving in the past year.
The game tasks the player to drive through various scenarios whilst navigating internal distractions, such as text messages appearing, or passengers talking, and external distractions, such as pedestrians crossing the road.
Goodyear Tyre UK PR Manager, Kate Rock said: “The aim of the app is to educate young people of the dangers of driver distractions through an immersive experience which puts them literally in the driving seat.”
The app will be available for public use on drivingacademy.goodyear.co.uk (available in Google Cardboard and non-VR formats) and will also be used as Young Driver centres across the country as part of the Goodyear Driving Academy programme.
The Google Cardboard devices will also be available to use at future DIA events.