B. Specific Operations and Subject Matter Areas
- R&D's major focus within the field of traffic safety has been the development and evaluation of driver licensing and post-licensing driver control programs. Recent areas of research and development include resource allocation and risk management strategies, driver license test development and validation, behavior modification techniques as they can be applied to the improvement of driving behavior, accident proneness models for identifying high risk drivers, and accident causation studies among other topics. The impetus for the studies has come from a variety of sources in addition to departmental management, such as the State Legislative Analyst's Office, the State Legislature, and federal governmental agencies. Completed studies have had major impact on California and national policy.
- R&D provides other DMV units with assistance in designing, conducting, analyzing, and interpreting administrative surveys and operations research studies. Members of the section also assist the department's Medical Advisory Board (MAB) by reviewing for them the scientific literature relating medical impairments to driving safety, participating in MAB and subcommittee meetings, and reviewing the products developed through these meetings-i.e., guidelines for licensing medically impaired drivers.
- A large range of software and computer capability is provided through a SUN work station and integrated network of PCs and MACs. The SUN System is also linked to the Teale Data Center, providing extensive mainframe and downloading/uploading capabilities.
- A traffic safety research library and information service is maintained for use by all departmental staff. This service includes liaison with the State Library and the libraries of other departments to obtain technical reports and other traffic safety material. The system has recently been automated to facilitate search capabilities, and work is underway to develop computer access to research information in other computerized library systems through the Internet.
- R&D maintains an offline computerized database known as the California Driver Record Study Database. This consists of a 1% random sample of the Driver License Masterfile and is used both for responding to internal management requests and for conducting studies of traffic accident correlates.
- R&D provides staff assistance to top management in the form of issue and policy papers, legislative bill analysis, program evaluation/statistical analysis methodology, and aggregating literature reviews.
- R&D has developed special computer programs for extracting and aggregating driving record information from the Driver License Masterfile. These extract programs are used in the conduct of R&D's traffic safety studies.
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