The Critical Tracking Task: A Potentially Useful Method to Assess Driver Distraction?

The authors report on four experiments that investigated the critical tracking task’s (CTT) potential as a tool to measure distraction. Assessment of the potential of new in-vehicle information systems to be distracting has become an important issue. An easy-to-use method, which might be a candidate to assess this distraction, is the CTT. The CTT requires an operator to stabilize a bar, which is displayed on a computer screen, such that it does not depart from a predefined target position. As the CTT reflects various basic aspects of the operational level of the driving task, he authors used it as a simple surrogate for driving to assess the CTT’s capabilities. The authors employed secondary tasks of varying demand, artificial tasks as well as tasks representative of secondary tasks while driving, and asked participants to perform them together with the CTT in parallel. CTT performance, secondary task performance, and subjective ratings of load were recorded and analyzed. Overall, the CTT was able to differentiate between different levels of demand elicited by the secondary tasks. The results obtained corresponded with the author a priori assumptions about the respective secondary tasks’ potential to distract. It appears that the CTT can be used to assess in-vehicle information systems with regard to their potential to distract drivers. Additional experiments are necessary to further clarify the relationship between driving and CTT performance. The CTT can provide a cost-effective solution as part of a battery of tests for early testing of new in-vehicle devices.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 789-808
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01525854
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 14 2014 2:41PM