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Dr. de Silva, of the Harvard Bureau of Street Traffic Research, has developed experiments for testing driving ability which have been the subject of far-flung comment. The Associated Press, March of Time, news reels, and other publicity media have featured this important work, and Mr. Goodwin of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has volunteered to provide space for Dr. de Silva's apparatus. Persons who have been deprived of their operator's licenses and others interested are to be tested on machines which register the speed of their reactions, their excitability, power to steer a straight course, and various other attributes necessary to expert driving.
The significance of Dr. de Silva's work is very great because of its future possibilities as an aid to safe driving. Installation of his apparatus in every driving test center in the country would simplify the problem of keeping incapable operators off the highways. As Dr. de Silva himself points out, the road tests now administered, usually consisting of a trip around one city block, are entirely inadequate, as no emergency is likely to arise. His experiments, on the other hand, endanger no one, as they are carried out in the safe confines of a laboratory. A system of point rating could easily be devised, so that prospective chauffeurs and truck drivers would find it difficult to obtain positions unless they had proved themselves experienced.
The current nationwide drive for road safety emphasizes the practical value of Dr. de Silva's experiments. Every newspaper poll has shown a large majority in favor of strict driving tests in order to assure a high standard of driving and knowledge of the rules of the road. By contributing a scientific means of administering such tests, Dr. de Silva gives these polls some meaning, and does the public at large a considerable service.
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