Laura Fraade-Blanar

Photo of Laura Fraade-Blanar
Postdoctoral Fellow
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in health services: evaluation sciences and occupational health, University of Washington; M.P.H. in international health: health systems, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in public health, Johns Hopkins University


Laura Fraade-Blanar is an NIH/NIA post-doctoral fellow at the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. Her work to date sits at the intersection of health, technology, and transportation. As a post-doctoral fellow at RAND, she applies her background in public health and injury epidemiology to current and emerging transportation questions. Her recent work has focused on autonomous vehicle safety, especially risk measurement methodologies and safety policy; and older driver safety, specifically around driving habits and crash risk.  

Before her fellowship at RAND, Fraade-Blanar’s work centered on exploring risk and methods to measure risk in injury prevention. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington explored older driver crash risk and older worker occupational injury risk, analyzing the mismatch between worker health and job demands. As a research scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), she assessed risk and risk mitigation related to motorcyclists, air bags, and large truck underride using a variety of methods. While a consultant at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), her work supported assessments of injury and violence reporting systems in the Americas.

Previous Positions

Data Analyst, Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) Center at Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC), 2013-2016; Research Scientist, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 2007-2010; Contractor, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), 2007-2008

Recent Projects

  • Measuring Automated Vehicle Safety
  • The Road to Zero A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050
  • Autonomous Vehicles and Federal Safety Standards
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Driving Safety Among Older Drivers

Selected Publications

Fraade-Blanar L, Blumenthal M, Anderson, J, Kalra N. , Measuring Autonomous Vehicle Safety: Forging a Framework. , RAND Corporation (RR-2662), 2018

Fraade-Blanar L and Smith JP, "Cognitive change and driving behavior among older drivers," Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2018 (forthcoming)

Fraade-Blanar L, Ebel BE, Larson, EB, Sears JM, Thompson HJ, Chan KC, Crane PK. , "Cognitive decline and older driver crash risk," Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 66(6), 2018

Fraade-Blanar L, Hansen RN, Chan KC, Sears JM, Thompson HJ, Crane PK, Ebel, BE, "Diagnosed dementia and the risk of motor vehicle crash among older drivers," Accident Analysis and Prevention, 113, 2018

Ecola L, Popper SW, Silberglitt R, and Fraade-Blanar L, The Road to Zero A Vision for Achieving Zero Roadway Deaths by 2050, (RR-2333), 2018

Fraade-Blanar L and Kalra N, Autonomous vehicles and federal safety standards: an exemption to the rule, (PE-258-RC), 2017

Blanar L, Sears JM, Chan KC, Thompson HJ, Crane PK, Ebel BE. , "Older adult occupational injury risk in association with job demands and health state," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(2), 2017

Nevin P, Blanar L, Maeser J, Kirk AP, Kaufman R, Cramer G, Freedheim A, Hitchcock L, Ebel BE. , "'I wasn't texting; I was just reading an email …': a qualitative study of distracted driving enforcement in Washington State," Injury Prevention, 23(3), 2017


  • A road work sign on California Highway 101 north warns, "be prepared to stop"

    How to Make Roads Safer for Autonomous Vehicles

    Roadways and vehicle design could be modified to better accommodate both human error and the shortcomings of autonomous vehicle systems.

    Feb 6, 2019 Axios

  • Senior couple in a car

    How AVs Could Provide Independence for Older Drivers

    Giving up driving has been linked to depression and isolation in older adults, as well as early entry into nursing home facilities. Autonomous vehicles could help improve the well-being of older adults by allowing them to maintain independence while still giving up their car keys.

    Sep 21, 2018 Axios