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Thomas Dingus, Ph.D.

Newport News-Tenneco Professor
Genderless Silhouette
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Director, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

Research Areas

  • Biomechanics

Research Interests

Dr. Dingus has performed transportation safety and human factors research since 1984, focusing on automated and connected vehicles, driver distraction and attention, the safety and usability of advanced in-vehicle devices, crash avoidance countermeasures, and fatigue.

He has led substantial efforts in growing Virginia as a pioneer in automated-vehicle research, with VTTI and partners creating a suite of advanced test beds that facilitate both public roadway and edge-and-corner (e.g., surface street, rural roads) test scenarios.

Dr. Dingus pioneered the naturalistic driving study research method, which involves instrumenting vehicles with unobtrusive video cameras and sophisticated instrumentation that assess crash and near-crash causation and help determine crash countermeasures.  


  • Virginia Tech: Ph.D., Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1987
  • Virginia Tech: M.S., Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1985
  • Wright State University: B.S., Systems Engineering, 1979

Awards, Honors, and Service


  • Named White House Champion of Change for Innovation in Transportation, including an invited panel member at the White House, 2013 
  • Best Ergonomics in Design Article Award for “Estimating Crash Risks” from Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2012 
  • Induction into the Virginia Tech Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni, 2012 
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, Virginia Tech College of Engineering, 2002 
  • A.R. Lauer Safety Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society for outstanding contributions to the understanding of human factors in safety, 2000 
  • Jerome H. Ely Human Factors Award for the most outstanding paper in Volume 37. Paper entitled: “Human Factors Field Evaluation of Automotive Headway Maintenance/Collision Warning Devices,” 1998


  • Invited speaker, TEDx Salon Talk, Wilmington, Delaware, 2017 
  • Elected to Virginia Governor’s Unmanned Systems Commission, 2015 
  • Elected to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Board of Directors, 2015 
  • Invited panelist, “Distracted Driving: Panel Discussion,” RealClearPolitics, 2013 
  • Invited to the Governor’s Mansion for a reception celebrating InnoVAte Virginia as an outstanding innovator, 2013 
  • Invited blogger for Huffington Post, Don’t Look Away From the Roadway, November 12, 2013 
  • Elected to the Intelligent Transportation Society of America Board of Directors, 2013 
  • Invited keynote speaker, Driving Distraction from Nomadic Devices, Australasian College of Road Safety, Melbourne, Australia, 2011 
  • Invited keynote speaker, “Driver Distraction and Fatigue,” AA Research Foundation Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand, 2011


  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (Fellow) 
  • American Society of Safety Engineers Intelligent Transportation Society of America (Member, Board of Directors) 
  • Society of Automotive Engineers 
  • American Society for Engineering Education 

Recent Publications

Perez, M., Sudweeks, J. D., Sear, E., Antin, J. F., Lee, S., Hankey, J., and Dingus, T. A. (2017). Performance of basic kinematic thresholds in the identification of crash and near-crash events within naturalistic driving data. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 103 (2017): 10-19. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2017.03.005

Ehsani, J. P., Klauer, S. G., Zhu, C., Gershon, P., Dingus, T. A., & Simons-Morton, B. G. (2017). Naturalistic assessment of the learner license period. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 106: 275-284. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2017.06.014

Guo, F., Klauer, S. G., Fang, Y., Hankey, J. M., Antin, J. F., Perez, M. A., ... & Dingus, T. A. (2016). The effects of age on crash risk associated with driver distraction. International journal of epidemiology, 46(1), 258-265.

Dingus, T. A., Guo, F., Lee, S., Antin, J. F., Perez, M., Buchanan-King, M., & Hankey, J. (2016). Driver crash risk factors and prevalence evaluation using naturalistic driving data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(10), 2636-2641. doi:10.1073/pnas.1513271113

Dingus, T., & Buchanan-King, M. (2015). Survive the Drive: A Guide to Keeping Everyone on the Road Alive. Blacksburg, VA

Dingus, T. A. (2014). Estimates of prevalence and risk associated with inattention and distraction based upon in situ naturalistic data. Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine, 58, 60-68. Retrieved from

Klauer, S. G., Guo, F., Simons-Morton, B. G., Ouimet, M. C., Lee, S. E., & Dingus, T. A. (2014). Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers. New England Journal of Medicine, 370, 54-59.

Ouimet, M. C., Brown, T. G., Guo, F., Klauer, S. G., Simons-Morton, B. G., Fang, Y., Lee, S. E., Gianoulakis, C., & Dingus, T.A. (2014). Higher crash and near-crash rates in teenaged drivers with lower cortisol response: An 18-month longitudinal, naturalistic study. Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5387

Guo, F., Simons-Morton, B. G., Klauer, S. E., Ouimet, M. C., Dingus, T. A., & Lee, S. E. (2013). Variability in crash and near-crash risk among novice teenage drivers: a naturalistic study. The Journal of Pediatrics, 163(6), 1670-1676.

Simons-Morton, B. G., Ouimet, M. C., Chen, R., Klauer, S. G., Chen, R., Lee, S. E., Wang, J., & Dingus, T. A.  (2012). Peer influence predicts speeding prevalence among teenage drivers. Journal of Safety Research, 43(5-6), 397-403. Retrieved from