New Drivers Forced To Take A “Virtual Driver Assessment” Designed By A Children’s Hospital

By MassPrivateI

What business does a children’s hospital have in deciding who gets to drive a vehicle? Apparently a lot.

Last month The Center Square revealed that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and their spinoff company Diagnostic Driving are convincing DMVs to get new drivers to take a virtual driver assessment before they take an on-road licensing exam.

This program allows for assessing new license applicants’ driving skills in conditions associated with common serious crash scenarios, Suzanne Hill, the program director for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Research Institute, told The Center Square in an email. The Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) teamed up with the hospital to create the program.

Ohio’s DPS is forcing new drivers to take CHOP’s mandatory virtual driver assessment program.

The state will install 400 virtual driving assessment systems throughout the state as part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s Ready, Test, Drive! program. All 57 driver examination locations will be equipped with the systems as will many driver training schools. According to a study by the CHOP, these programs are an effective way to predict which drivers lacked the skills to pass an on-road examination.

As The Center Square noted, “all prospective drivers will have to take the virtual driving assessment before completing the on-road examination.”

Virtual driving assessments will follow new drivers regardless of age

The virtual driving assessments will not replace on-the-road examinations (ORE), but all prospective new drivers, regardless of age or training experience, will be asked to conduct a virtual driving assessment immediately prior to their in-car driving test. Feedback from the assessment will then be provided after the ORE – regardless of the ORE’s outcome – outlining skills needing improvement, such as maintaining a safe distance between vehicles, changing lanes properly, or merging safely into traffic.

Ohio’s virtual driver assessment program is about creating “feedback” or a database on every new driver.

How can Ohio force new drivers to take a virtual assessment program based on a study done by the very company that created it?

CHOP’s for-profit “Virtual Skills Assessment” (VSA) program smacks of real-time surveillance and predictive policing of new drivers.

Simulation software allows for safe and reproducible exposure to the most common serious crash scenarios and real-time measurement of performance. The first application of this software in Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (OBMV)’s licensing centers demonstrated its ability to predict ORE performance, as well as its practical implementation in state licensing center workflows.

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Conducting virtual drivers tests of new drivers and predicting how they will drive in the future could be used to raise driver’s insurance premiums before they ever get behind the wheel. It could also be used in determining how much of a fine they might get for speeding in the future.

The Highland County Press warns that the Ohio DMV will use Virtual Skill Assessment scores to track future accidents and moving violations.

In addition, Ohio – Ready, Test, Drive! will use non-identifying driver data from the virtual driving assessments combined with drivers’ future crash and citation information to identify weaknesses in Ohio’s overall driver training curriculum. Examining new drivers’ pre- and post-licensure driving trends will allow Ohio to make data-driven enhancements to the statewide training curriculum to better prepare future drivers.

Is this is a portend of what is to come? How long will it be before virtual driving assessments teach new drivers how to interact with law enforcement?

For two years now, South Carolina’s state Department of Public Instruction has taught new drivers how to interact with the police. The same is happening in states like, IllinoisMichigan, OhioVirginia North Carolina, Florida, New JerseyRhode IslandMaine and Texas,

In Texas, high schoolers have to pass a “Flashing Lights” curriculum that gives drivers a set of behavioral expectations of interactions with law enforcement!

Imagine being refused a drivers license because you failed to pass the behavioral expectations of interactions with law enforcement section.

Forcing new drivers to pass virtual driving assessment programs or how to interact with law enforcement takes what is left of our freedoms and crushes them.


You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.

Top image credit: Diagnostic Driving / Twitter

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