Effects of mobile phone distraction on drivers’ reaction times

Haque, Md. Mazharul & Washington, Simon (2013) Effects of mobile phone distraction on drivers’ reaction times. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety, 24(3), pp. 20-29.

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Distraction resulting from mobile phone use whilst driving has been shown to increase the reaction times of drivers, thereby increasing the likelihood of a crash. This study compares the effects of mobile phone conversations on reaction times of drivers responding to traffic events that occur at different points in a driver’s field of view. The CARRS-Q Advanced Driving Simulator was used to test a group of young drivers on various simulated driving tasks including a traffic event that occurred within the driver’s central vision—a lead vehicle braking suddenly—and an event that occurred within the driver’s peripheral—a pedestrian entering a zebra crossing from a footpath. Thirty-two licensed drivers drove the simulator in three phone conditions: baseline (no phone conversation), and while engaged in hands-free and handheld phone conversations. The drivers were aged between 21 to 26 years and split evenly by gender. Differences in reaction times for an event in a driver’s central vision were not statistically significant across phone conditions, probably due to a lower speed selection by the distracted drivers. In contrast, the reaction times to detect an event that originated in a distracted driver’s peripheral vision were more than 50% longer compared to the baseline condition. A further statistical analysis revealed that deterioration of reaction times to an event in the peripheral vision was greatest for distracted drivers holding a provisional licence. Many critical events originate in a driver’s periphery, including vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians emerging from side streets. A reduction in the ability to detect these events while distracted presents a significant safety concern that must be addressed.

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ID Code: 63888
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: mobile phone distraction, advanced driving simulator, driver reaction times, young drivers, peripheral vision, road safety
ISSN: 1832-9497
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400) > Applied Statistics (010401)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Transport Engineering (090507)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Facilities: CARRS-Q Advanced Driving Simulator
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Australasian College of Road Safety
Deposited On: 03 Nov 2013 22:27
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 01:20

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