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Teens can learn for free on UB’s driving simulator

UB is offering teens free use of its driving simulation lab. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published July 25, 2013

“Unfortunately, the leading cause of death for 16- to 19-year-olds is traffic accidents.”
Kevin Hulme, senior research associate
New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation

Attention parents with teenagers learning to drive.

Starting in early August and continuing indefinitely, UB will offer teens 10 hours of free practice in its state-of-the-art driving simulation lab.

To qualify, teens must:

  • Not have driver’s license (A learner’s permit is OK.)
  • Have reliable transportation to and from the North Campus
  • Obtain permission from a parent or guardian.

“Unfortunately, the leading cause of death for 16- to 19-year-olds is traffic accidents,” says project manager Kevin Hulme, senior research associate at UB’s New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation.

“Programs like this can help reverse that trend, provide much-needed, behind-the-wheel practice for young drivers and generate invaluable data about teenage driving habits that can help reduce moving violations, accidents and fatalities over time,” Hulme adds.

Teens will receive five, two-hour sessions that mimic driving on local roads. UB researchers, meanwhile, will collect data for future scientific reports.

Using equipment donated by Moog Inc. of East Aurora, the lab provides a safe environment for participants to learn the basics of safely handling an automobile.

It features the front end of a car mounted on a platform that moves up and down, and from side-to-side, to simulate how a car reacts to turns, changes in elevation and other road conditions. Large projection screens display street signs, pedestrians, automobiles and other elements that drivers encounter. A stereo sound system emulates noises heard inside and outside of the vehicle.

The lab, located in 107 Furnas Hall, will be open on days, evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of those participating.

For more information or to enroll, send an email to

Note: Training offered in the driving simulation lab complements—it does not replace—traditional programs and methods that teenagers use to learn to drive.