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Porter's New Book Explores Dangerous Driving

Bryan Porter

The general public may not be the target audience for the new book by Old Dominion University psychologist Bryan Porter, but there is plenty of material in it for anyone who believes there are too many careless and aggressive drivers on our roads.

"Handbook of Traffic Psychology" was published this summer by Academic Press, and at the list price of $150 it is not destined to fly off the shelves. Instead, it is expected to be a must read for any scientist or engineer whose research is aimed at understanding, measuring, and changing driver and pedestrian behaviors that often lead to crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

Porter, who is an associate professor of psychology and a University Professor at ODU, has research specialties in behavioral community and applied experimental psychology. He is known throughout the United States and abroad for his work in the field of traffic safety, particularly red light running. His research has also looked for solutions to tailgating, pedestrian unsafe crossing, safety belt non-use, child restraint non-use, and aggressive and impaired driving.

He edited the "Handbook," was the sole author of one chapter and a co-author of another. Five current and former psychology students at ODU also are chapter authors.

"This is a major work in traffic psychology and was badly needed," Porter said. More than 40 researchers from a dozen countries contributed to the book, providing perspective not only from the field of psychology, but also engineering, political science and public health. Porter said he thought a work such as this should provide a "global view."

"From distracted drivers to fatigue and impaired driving, the Handbook tells us what causes the most menace on the roads, how we cope with it as a society, and what more needs to be done," states the publisher's summary of the contents on the book's back cover.

The book explores these subject areas: 1) theories, concepts and methods for researchers in this field, 2) key variables to understand in traffic psychology, 3) key problem behaviors, 4) vulnerable and problem road users, 5) major countermeasures to reduce risk and 6) interdisciplinary issues.

Other authors with connections to ODU's Department of Psychology are master's graduates Kelli England Will and Cynthia Sabo, doctoral graduate Krystall Dunaway and doctoral candidates Kristie Johnson and Jennifer May.

This article was posted on: September 13, 2011

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