Driving simulator puts SMS to the crash test.

Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics student Sophie Monument
Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics student Sophie Monument

A new driver testing simulator at Griffith Health is a living, shuddering, vibrating reminder of where new directions in public health research are heading.

Current Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics student Sophie Monement is researching distraction in drivers, comparing eating whilst driving to SMS messaging. The 21 year old from Logan is using some serious technology to explore a very common behaviour of many individuals.

“I’m not sure I’ll prove my hypothesis; eating and driving is far more socially sanctioned than texting, but wasn’t listed as one of the ‘fatal five’ during the Easter road blitz by Queensland Police.”

New HQ, new collaborations

The simulator is proudly part of the School of Public Health that has moved from its former temporary site, behind the School of Pharmacy.

It is part of a research collaboration between the Schools of Public Health and Applied Psychology.

Sophie is hoping she returns for a PhD one day so she work out of the new Griffith Health Centre.

“This commitment to bring everyone together and feeding off each other’s ideas sounds like a really attractive thing to be part of,” said Sophie.

Sophie’s supervisor, Associate Professor Ben Desbrow keenly supports research like Sophie’s and believes such projects will only be enhanced through their proximity to others.

“I think work like Sophie’s is great, and it can only be improved with a collaborative approach through as many different projects as possible. Buildings and fancy equipment doesn’t do this for you, but they can definitely help push the process along,” he said.