Driving simulator set to visit Birmingham Park and Recreation Centers, educate on driving safety

The Birmingham City Council Transportation Committee provides funding for the UAB TRIP Lab’s current driving safety community outreach efforts.

trip lab streamThe UAB TRIP Lab provides driving safety education to the Birmingham at local park and recreation facilities. With distracted driving becoming more and more prevalent, the University of Alabama at Birmingham continues to offer distracted driving education to the Birmingham community. A partnership with Birmingham Park and Recreation and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham allows the UAB Translational Research for Injury Prevention (TRIP) Lab to take driving safety education to local communities.

“We believe this program will go a long way in making our patrons aware of the immense responsibility of being behind the wheel of a car,” said Shonae’ Eddins-Bennett, director of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board. “I want our young people to be safe to enjoy recreation programs for a lifetime of healthy living.”

Beginning in July, the UAB TRIP Lab will take its portable simulator to nine Birmingham Park and Recreation facilities to educate students and adults on distracted driving and driving safety.

“With our driving simulator, we are able to safely and ethically demonstrate errors on the road due to distracted driving,” said Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D., director of the UAB TRIP Lab and assistant professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology. “Adults and students receive firsthand experience on how they drive and how they are putting themselves and others at risk for a motor vehicle crash.”

The Birmingham City Council Transportation Committee provides funding for the UAB TRIP Lab’s current driving safety community outreach efforts. To better provide outreach programs to the community, the TRIP Lab has a full-time community outreach coordinator, Valencia Moss. As the lead field representative in community and outreach programs, Moss is responsible for designing, developing and directing the operations of all community outreach events and programs.

“In partnering with the Birmingham City Council, we are able to take the UAB TRIP Lab’s research into the community,” Moss said. “Awareness is such a crucial part of driving safely. The city council enables us to provide awareness of the dangers of distracted driving by helping us educate Birmingham communities through hands-on experience with our driving simulator.”

The UAB TRIP Lab’s portable driving simulator realistically simulates distracted driving scenarios and measures braking reaction time, revealing how quickly driving hazards can occur. To date, the UAB TRIP Lab has provided education to the community at the McAlpine Recreation Center, Ensley Recreation Center, Hawkins Recreation Center, North Birmingham Recreation Center and Memorial Recreation Center. The simulator will visit nine Birmingham Park and Recreation facilities, including:

  • July 23: District 9, McAlpine Recreation Center
  • July 23: District 6, Harrison Recreation Center
  • July 24: District 1, East Pinson Valley Recreation Center
  • TBD: District 5, Fountain Heights Recreation Center; and District 7, Wiggins Recreation Center

In addition to the partnership with Birmingham Park and Recreation, the second annual Science of Distracted Driving workshop for high school students will take place July 16-27 at the UAB TRIP Lab headquarters on the UAB campus. Guest speakers for the driving safety workshop including a representative from the Alabama Department of Transportation, AAA of Alabama, State Troopers and Alabama state Rep. Rod Scott. Michelle Lunsford will be the keynote speaker at the closing ceremony July 27. She will talk about how her teenage daughter had a fatal crash on I-65 due to a driving distraction.

More information is available on each of these events.