Acceptable Distraction? Evaluating the Effects of In-Vehicle Technologies on Driving

The number of new in-vehicle devices is increasing and techniques must be developed to ensure that these devices do not produce unacceptable levels of distraction. Ideally these techniques should be quick and easy to use and applicable early in the design process. One approach is to use the time required to use the device (static time on task) to decide whether a device produces unacceptable levels of distraction (e.g. the 15 second rule). However, this practice makes three critical assumptions: 1) Static time on task predicts time on task while driving; 2) Time on task measured in a hazard-free environment predicts time on task when drivers expect periodic hazards; 3) Time on task predicts perceived distraction, collisions, and driving errors. This study was designed to test these assumptions by comparing two in-vehicle tasks, one relatively safe (radio manipulation) and other relatively dangerous (dialing a hand held cellular phone). Thirty-two participants were tested in a driving simulator. Static time on task underestimated dynamic time on task, though the difference between the radio and cellular tasks were roughly consistent across testing conditions (with the cellular task taking more time). Participants who expected hazards had slightly longer time on task than those that did not, but the effect was only marginal (p = .09) and consistent across tasks. Finally, the task with higher static time on task also produced significantly more lane deviations and perceived interference, though the predicted pattern of results did not emerge for collisions and hazard response time.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044988
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-0094
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 4:39PM