Driving behaviour while self-regulating mobile phone interactions: A human-machine system approach

Mobile phone distracted driving is a recurrent issue in road safety worldwide. Recent research on driving behaviour of distracted drivers suggests that in certain circumstances drivers seem to assume safer behaviours while using a mobile phone. Despite a high volume of research on this topic, self-regulation by mobile phone distracted drivers is not well understood as many driving simulator experiments are designed to impose an equal level of distraction to participants being tested for their driving performance. The aim of this research was to investigate the relationship between self-regulatory secondary task performance and driving. By a driving simulator experiment in which participants were allowed to perform their secondary tasks whenever they feel appropriate, the driving performance of 35 drivers aged 18–29 years was observed under three phone conditions including non-distraction (no phone use), hands-free interactions and visual-manual interactions in the CARRS-Q advanced driving simulator. Drivers’ longitudinal and lateral vehicle control observed across various road traffic conditions were then modelled by Generalized Estimation Equations (GEE) with exchangeable correlation structure accounting for heterogeneity resulting from multiple observations from the same driver. Results show that the extent of engagement in the secondary task influence both longitudinal and lateral control of vehicles. Drivers who engaged in a large number of hands-free interactions are found to select lower driving speed. In contrast, longer visual-manual interactions are found to result in higher driving speed among drivers self-regulating their secondary task. Among the road traffic conditions, drivers distracted by their self-regulated secondary tasks are found to select lower speeds along the s-curve compared to straight and motorway segments. In summary, the applied human-machine system approach suggests that road traffic demands play a vital role in both secondary task management and driving performance.


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  • Accession Number: 01677141
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 7 2018 3:04PM