Driver distraction

Distraction while driving is an important factor in accidents in young and inexperienced drivers. Especially the use of smart phones while driving can be dangerous because they distract the driver from the primary task of driving. When a secondary task requires the driver to take the eyes off the road for more than 3 seconds, steering performance deteriorates. The distracted driver problem is often caused by being engaged in an other task that requires the driver to take the eyes off the road for more than 3 seconds.

This module aims to increase the awareness of young drivers of the effects of distraction on driving performance. On a winding road with oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, steering performance is measured during undistracted driving and during distracted driving. During the ‘distracted driver’ part, a secondary task is displayed on the right display: a number of questions are asked that have to be read by the driver, to which the driver responds by pressing a YES or a NO button. This resembles texting while driving in the sense that the eyes are off the road while reading the questions.

After the drive, the results are presented in a graphical form. Swerving and the percentage of time the lane boundaries were exceeded is shown in both the undistracted and the distracted driver conditions.

This training clearly shows the effects of driver distraction on driving behaviour and improves the awareness of this in young drivers.

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For more information on the effects of distraction on driving performance and traffic safety see: