Robert Foss, PhD

Adjunct Professor
Maternal & Child Health; Health Behavior

Senior Research Scientist
Highway Safety Research Center

Curriculum Vitae
UNC Center for the Study of Young Drivers
UNC Highway Safety Research Center

730 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430

T: 919-962-8702
F: 919-962-8710

1975 University of Nevada, Reno PhD, Social Psychology
1969 University of New Mexico BA, Psychology


Research interests

  • Health behavior
  • Health communication
  • Health policy
  • Injury prevention
  • Public health practice


Research activities


  • Assists numerous states in upgrading young driver licensing systems to reflect cutting edge science and evaluates the approaches used to implement such systems.
  • Evaluation of young driver safety policies whose introduction has created natural experiments.
  • Naturalistic research (in-vehicle recording) to study what transpires inside teenage drivers’ vehicles and to better measure young driver exposure.
  • Developing an intervention, using modern learning theory, developments in cognitive psychology, recent findings from HSRC’s studies of parent-teen interactions regarding driving, to improve parental supervision and management of young teenage drivers.

Primary teaching areas

  • Adolescent injury risk, especially transportation-related
  • Research design, survey research, observational field studies
  • Adolescent health policy development, evaluation, advocacy

Primary Research areas

  • Teenage driver behavior
  • Alcohol use and injury
  • Observational field research design and implementation


Staff/administrative responsibilities

HB Availability

  • Classroom or continuing education lecture on adolescent injury, research principles, etc.
  • Faculty research collaboration
  • Dissertation committee member
  • Informal research advice or technical assistance