Minimizing Driver Errors: Examining Factors Leading to Failed Target Tracking and Detection

Driving a motor vehicle is a common practice for many individuals. Although driving becomes repetitive and a very habitual task, errors can occur that lead to accidents. One factor that can be a cause for such errors is a lapse in attention or a failure to notice critical information. When driving, individuals must not only attend to the other moving vehicles, but they must also remain aware of and detect critical information that is in the surrounding environment. As the environment becomes more complex however, the ease of detecting these critical targets becomes hindered. Because of these failures in attention, this research focuses not only on the visual complexity of the environment but also on the dynamic relation of the moving vehicles on attention. By incorporating a dual task paradigm of vehicle tracking and target detection in a visually complex environment, a direct examination for the influence of outside vehicle factors on a driver’s ability to detect critical targets was measured. Furthermore, driver reactions such as brake onset, steering deviations, and changes in velocity were examined. This research found that overall improvements in driver reactions are observed when the environment has low clutter and there were fewer vehicles to be tracked.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

    Department of Psychology
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803

    Gulf Coast Research Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency

    Louisiana State University
    3221 P.F. Taylor Hall
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Beck, Melissa R
    • Ericson, Justin M
  • Publication Date: 2013-6


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: 31p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01491292
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Project #12-02
  • Created Date: Sep 3 2013 12:24PM