Creating the Environment for Driver Distraction: a Thematic Framework of Sociotechnical Factors

As modern society becomes more reliant on technology, its use within the vehicle is becoming a concern for road safety due to both portable and built-in devices offering sources of distraction. While the effects of distracting technologies are well documented, little is known about the causal factors that lead to drivers' engagement with technological devices. The relevance of the sociotechnical system within which the behaviour occurs requires further research. This paper presents two experiments, the first aims to assess the drivers self-reported decision to engage with technological tasks while driving and their reasoning for doing so with respect to the wider sociotechnical system. This utilised a semi-structured interview method, conducted with 30 drivers to initiate a discussion on their likelihood of engaging with 22 different tasks across 7 different road types. Inductive thematic analysis provided a hierarchical thematic framework that detailed the self-reported causal factors that influence the drivers’ use of technology whilst driving. The second experiment assessed the relevance of the hierarchical framework to a model of distraction that was established from within the literature on the drivers' use of distracting technologies while driving. The findings provide validation for some relationships studied in the literature, as well as providing insights into relationships that require further study. The role of the sociotechnical system in the engagement of distractions while driving is highlighted, with the causal factors reported by drivers suggesting the importance of considering the wider system within which the behaviour is occurring and how it may be creating the conditions for distraction to occur. This supports previous claims made within the literature based model. Recommendations are proposed that encourage a movement away from individual focused countermeasures towards systemic actors.


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  • Accession Number: 01664538
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 5 2018 11:23AM