< Back to search
Driver distraction: A review of the literature.
Approximately one quarter of vehicle crashes in the United States are estimated to result from the driver being inattentive, or distracted. As more wireless communication, entertainment and driver assistance systems proliferate the vehicle market, the incidence of distraction-related crashes is expected to escalate. In North America, Europe and Japan, driver distraction is a priority issue in road safety. However, the significance of driver distraction as road safety issue has only recently been recognised in Australia. This paper provides a review of current research on in-vehicle driver distraction, focusing on mobile phone use in particular, given that this device has received the greatest attention in the driver distraction literature. The review discusses the effect of in-vehicle devices on driving performance. Issues addressed include: the adaptive strategies drivers adopt in order to maintain their driving performance while distracted at an adequate level; under what conditions these adaptive strategies can fail; and how driving performance is affected when they do. Also examined is whether, and to what degree, these degradations in driving performance translate into an increased crash risk. In the final section of the paper, recommendations for future research are provided.