The work spotlighted in this first Webinar was the Human Factors article,
“An Investigation of Driver Distraction Near the Tipping Point of Traffic Flow Stability” (Volume 51, Number 2, pages 261–268) by Joel Cooper (University of Utah) and colleagues. We felt this would make a compelling topic to launch the series, given the extent of news coverage on driver distraction, particularly the media reports in July that in 2003, NHTSA had suppressed data on the dangers of driving while talking on a cell phone.
Following a brief introduction, Joel presented slides and videos as he discussed his study. “Attendees” could submit questions for presentation by the moderator (me); 45 questions were submitted and answered during the 25-minute Q&A portion of the Webinar. Almost 200 people were in virtual attendance, from the United States, Canada, Israel, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, The Netherlands, South Korea, France, Antilles, and Norway. Of note is that 32 of the attendees were nonmembers, as the Webinar was marketed to various LinkedIn and Web groups focused on driving research, and to media members who recently wrote articles on driver distraction.