Assessing Impact of Driving Simulator Experience on Reduction of Cell-phone Distraction among Adult Drivers

Use of electronic devices, especially cell phones while driving, is causing havoc on U.S. highways. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports over 5000 fatalities due to driver inattention; a vast majority of inattention is due to cell phone use. Research shows that one specific use of cell phone, Texting While Driving, causes longer inattention and is thus more dangerous. Young and adult drivers alike are increasingly using cell phones for various activities while driving. The majority of states and localities in the U.S. have enacted rules which put some kind of restrictions on Texting While Driving. Besides law enforcement, educational and/or public service efforts are also being made to curb Texting While Driving and other cell phone usage. This research addresses one of the issues in educational efforts. Main objectives of the research were (1) to measure impact of driving simulation experience on attitude of adult drivers towards cell phone usage during driving and (2) to measure the differences in change in safety perception of cell phone use after education based on drivers’ and other characteristics. A field experiment was designed to investigate these two objectives. This experiment was conducted in a medium size city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 100 randomly selected adult drivers participated in the study. The experiment was conducted using an in-vehicle driving simulator. During the experiment, simulated driving, drivers were asked to use the cell phone as they would normally use it while driving their own vehicle. During simulation, participants saw reduction/changes in the driving performance on the simulator screen while they were engaged in the cell phone related activities. These changes included slowing down, crossing over a lane, jumping red lights, crashing vehicle, etc. Two different survey instruments were administered to drivers, one before and one after their experience in the driving simulator. The drivers were expected to modify her/his perception towards cell phone usage after visualizing impairment/reduction in driving performance caused by the cell phone usages during driving. About 91% of drivers reported using the cell phone for various activities including texting, emailing, searching for directions, etc. The majority of drivers also reported using the cell phone often while driving. 70% or more drivers reported that they follow traffic rules, follow speed limits and generally consider themselves a safe driver. After the simulator experience there was significant improvement in a driver’s perception of the danger of Texting While Driving. More than 81% of drivers rated the cell phone more dangerous after their simulator experience. On an average there was a 0.66 improvement on perception of danger of Texting While Driving measured on the 5-point Likert scale. Some demographic and other driver characteristics showed significant relationship to the improvement in perception of danger of Texting While Driving.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 70p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01604944
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NCITEC Project No. 2013-01
  • Created Date: Jul 20 2016 9:48AM