Friday, July 15, 2016

EXPERIMENTAL REPORT: Driving difficulties among military veterans: clinical needs and current intervention status

CITATION: Possis, Elizabeth, Thao Bui, Margaret Gavian, Jennie Leskela, Effie Linardatos, Jennifer Loughlin, and Thad Strom. "Driving difficulties among military veterans: clinical needs and current intervention status." Military medicine 179, no. 6 (2014): 633-639.

 ABSTRACT: Military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan often develop mental health difficulties, which may manifest as problematic driving behavior. Veterans may be more likely to engage in risky driving and to subsequently be involved in motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. This article reviews literature on driving difficulties among military veterans and evaluates available research on the potential pathways that underlie risky driving behavior. Current interventions for problematic driving behaviors are considered, and the necessity of modifying these interventions to address the unique difficulties encountered by military veterans is highlighted. The review concludes with a discussion of clinical implications of these findings and identification of possible avenues for future research and intervention.

MY TAKE ON IT: This review identifies fear- or anxiety-related behaviors as a cause of unsafe driving behaviors in military veterans. This anxiety can be expressed in risky responses like drunk-driving and road rage. It may also be expressed as classic phobic behavior like avoiding highways and other situations perceived as dangerous. The recommended treatment for driving phobia is cognitive-behavioral therapy and counter-conditioning, although the authors note that their effectiveness specifically with veterans is not well studied.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Hands Free" phones just as distracting for drivers, reseach shows

Dr Graham Hole, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex conducted research that shows: “A popular misconception is that using a mobile phone while driving is safe as long as the driver uses a hands-free phone. Our research shows this is not the case. Hands-free can be equally distracting because conversations cause the driver to visually imagine what they’re talking about. This visual imagery competes for processing resources with what the driver sees in front of them on the road.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Animals as Vehicles

Like many people who commute to work on foot, I understand the perils of being a pedestrian.  It seems as if our transport infrastructure always caters to the needs of the automobile majority, even at the expense of other travelers just trying to get from A to B. 

It is not that car-centric communities are necessarily dangerous to others.  But they can be when paired with a sense of entitlements, one that says: "the road is for vehicles and anyone else on them is on the wrong place and deserves whatever they get".

That arrogance is why pedestrians get hit even when crossing roadways safely, even on a signaled crosswalk, because drivers just never even consider they might be there, let alone that they should always look for and give way to us. Automobiles give people power, but that is also meant to bring with it vigilance and a sense of responsibility, especially to those traversing the land in slower and more vulnerable ways.

And that does not just mean on foot, but by traditional animal-based forms of transport.  Outside of marked highways, these are also permitted forms of travel not mere inconvenient obstacles in the road.

So that is why I despair when I read of a lawyer saying, of a defendant who by all accounts (other than his own) deliberately rammed a horse and rider: "