Driver's exposure to distractions in their natural driving environment

Accid Anal Prev. 2005 Nov;37(6):1093-101. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2005.06.007. Epub 2005 Jul 11.


Unobtrusive video camera units were installed in the vehicles of 70 volunteer drivers over 1-week time periods to study drivers' exposure to distractions. The video data were coded based on a detailed taxonomy of driver distractions along with important contextual variables and driving performance measures. Results show distractions to be a common component of everyday driving. In terms of overall event durations, the most common distractions were eating and drinking (including preparations to eat or drink), distractions inside the vehicle (reaching or looking for an object, manipulating vehicle controls, etc.), and distractions outside the vehicle (often unidentified). Distractions were frequently associated with decreased driving performance, as measured by higher levels of no hands on the steering wheel, eyes directed inside rather than outside the vehicle, and lane wanderings or encroachments. Naturalistic driving studies can provide a useful supplement to more controlled laboratory and field studies to further our understanding of the effects of all types of distractions on driving safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Cell Phone
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Environment Design*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety*
  • United States
  • Video Recording