Long recognized as a leader in safety-related research, PIRE has an extensive portfolio of projects on transportation safety and unintentional injury, among other issues. PIRE scientists pioneered the application of human performance measurement to safety and health-related behavior research, using sophisticated simulation and video analysis techniques to study driver performance, for example. Other transportation safety research areas include safe performance of new drivers, older drivers, commercial vehicle operators, motorcyclists, and recreational boaters. We also study safety belt use, driver distraction, aggressive driving, and fatigue.

Unintentional injuries—the leading cause of death and disability among people ages 1 – 34—can be debilitating and devastating, and they impose great costs on society. After motor vehicle crashes, the leading unintentional injuries include burns, falls, poisonings, suffocation, and drowning. In addition to research on injury prevention and improving safety procedures and policies, PIRE scientists have conducted groundbreaking research on the economic impacts of unintentional injuries and developed sophisticated models for predicting the economic and societal benefits of implementing product safety improvements and regulations. PIRE’s research in this arena serves as a basis for developing programs to improve safety and for shaping policy and legislative activities at the federal and state levels.