Jeffrey Hickman, Ph.D.

Human Factors Practice Leader

Life Sciences



Dr. Jeffrey Hickman’s Ph.D. research focused on behavioral safety and safety in large-scale systems. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Hickman was employed at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for 18 years. He has considerable experience assisting clients to understand human factors issues related to warnings, slips/trips/falls, occupational/industrial safety, and vehicle operator behavior.

Dr. Hickman’s safety research and experience include human factors, behavior, fatigue, drowsiness, duty status, attention, glance patterns, electronic device use, regulations, drugs and alcohol, warnings, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), automated driving systems (ADS), and many other safety technologies. Dr. Hickman investigated the effects of visual displays and infotainment systems on driver attention. His research on driver distraction is often cited as a rationale for texting-while-driving bans but is also the primary source for the lawful use of a hands-free cell phone while driving. He has assisted organizations with developing distraction/cell phone policies and wrote a chapter on driver distraction in the National Safety Council’s Motor Fleet Safety Manual 5th Edition.

Dr. Hickman supported studies evaluating various hours-of-service regulations and driver sleep patterns. These results have been used to support and/or propose new hours-of-service regulations. He led the development of the North American Fatigue Management Program. In addition, he was involved in several efforts to document effective safety management techniques heavy vehicle operations. His expertise is broadly defined as human factors occupational/industrial safety and health, including behavioral safety, safety culture, prompts, warnings, safety management techniques, education and training, personal protective equipment, and operator health.

Dr. Hickman is a current member of the SAE Truck and Bus Automation Safety Committee, SAE Driver Metrics Committee, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (including the Forensics Professional, Safety, and Surface Transportation Committees), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities Council. He is the former chair of SAE Task Force: J3198 – Driver Drowsiness and Fatigue in the Safe Operation of Vehicles – Definition of Terms and Concepts. He has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on 65 research projects totaling over $43 million. Dr. Hickman has delivered more than 130 professional presentations and published over 100 peer-reviewed publications and technical reports.


• Psychology, B.S.: University of Florida (1997)

• Clinical Psychology, M.S.: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2002)

• Clinical Psychology, Ph.D.: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2005)