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March 30, 2016

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 30 – At some point in the day, most Americans pick up a set of keys and head out on the road. It’s a daily routine for more than 200 million drivers in the U.S. alone, but this is not a mundane task: Every time drivers hit the road, they face abundant risks. . 

In their new book “Survive the Drive: A Guide to Keeping Everyone on the Road Alive,” authors Tom Dingus and Mindy Buchanan-King combine years of facts, figures, reports, new cutting-edge research, and personal anecdotes into a single guide to help drivers understand and handle their everyday risks. Based on these sources of information, the authors are able to provide estimates of exactly how much risk drivers encounter during virtually every situation, such as texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, not wearing a seat belt or motorcycle helmet, driving while tired or angry, or driving after one or two drinks. In many cases, the authors provide the first known estimates of driver risks.

The book encompasses all drivers need to know to increase their chances of surviving the drive, from picking the right vehicle to keeping a teen driver safe. The facts highlighted are based on field studies, expertise, and personal experience of the authors and colleagues who study transportation safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. In particular, the book includes new findings from the largest naturalistic driving study ever conducted—the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study, which was led by the transportation institute and its partners and sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences. This study involved placing video cameras and other sensors in the cars of more than 3,500 volunteer drivers for up to two years each, resulting in more than 35 million miles of continuous driving data. The study provides researchers the first known opportunity to definitively determine risk prevalence on a large scale, using more than 1,600 real-world crashes and minor collisions captured via video.

Because driver safety is critical to our society and to each person behind the wheel, “Survive the Drive” clearly communicates all study results to a broad audience: adult drivers, teen drivers, senior drivers, professional/truck drivers, and motorcyclists.

Tom Dingus, the director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, has been conducting transportation safety research for more than 30 years. Mindy Buchanan-King has turned “engineer-speak” into impactful articles and publications as the research communications director at the transportation institute.

“Survive the Drive” is now available at

For more information, contact:

Pamela Stiff