A series of expert working group meetings, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), were convened to address concerns associated with the explosive growth of in-vehicle technologies (e.g., cell-phones, navigation systems, wireless Internet, information and entertainment systems, night vision systems, etc.) and the potential for driver distraction. The purpose of these meetings was to solicit a broad range of views and perspectives relating to distraction and to identify needed research to support and advance the development of comprehensive research programs to address the driver distraction problem. The goal was to identify basic issues and existing research needs within each of the following five areas: (1) Understanding the Nature and Extent of the Driver Distraction Problem; (2) Understanding the Human Cognitive Process as it Relates to Driving, Distraction and Safety; (3) Human Factors Guidelines to Aid in Equipment Design; (4) Integrated Approaches to Reduce Distraction from In-Vehicle Devices; (5) Ways to Effect Social Change Regarding the Use of Distracting Devices While Driving. Five individual expert working groups were convened; these were structured around each of the five topic areas listed above. A number of common themes and observations emerged from the working group meetings. These include the following points and findings: (1) Many forms of distraction exist. Experts generally recognize that distraction is a broad and encompassing phenomenon and is not limited to in-vehicle technologies - distraction can assume a variety of forms and result from a wide range of sources. Although NHTSA's focus on technology-related problems is warranted, other non-technological forms of distraction should not be ignored. (2) Very little is known about the magnitude and characteristics of the distraction problem. Our understanding about how drivers use in-vehicle technologies and the context in which drivers use these devices is limited. Naturalistic studies using data recorders capable of capturing pre-crash scenarios and controlled epidemiological studies are needed to better understand usage and circumstances surrounding crashes caused by distraction. (3) Objective, standardized methods and metrics need to be developed. (4) Current research does not fully address the issue of cognitive distraction. As a community, we need to develop tools and methods to quantify this type of distraction. Drivers need to understand that some technologies and activities may impose significant demands on their attention and may not be safe to use while driving - keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel may not be enough. (5) Safety benefits of in-vehicle devices and systems should be considered when thinking about restricting or limiting their use. (6) Individual differences appear to play a significant role in the distraction problem.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Tables;
  • Pagination: 90 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00961952
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 19 2003 12:00AM