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Coping with distractions—the task for driver training and education.

McDougall, J, Faulks, I, Regan, M, Stevenson, M, Brown, J, Porter, A, Irwin, J D

Driver Risk & Behaviour

ACRS conference 2005

The modern driver has much to be thankful for the way in which technological advances have made the physical part of driving easier to accomplish, that is the use of the actual driving controls such as power steering, automatic gears and power assisted brakes and so on. However at the same time the in-car environment of "optional extras" such as CD players, mobile phones, navigational systems etc provide many distractions and the external environment of roads and traffic that have become far more complex and dangerous places to be, full of difficult situations and distractions that can confuse and divert the attention of even the most experienced driver. Many often succumb to this environment and experience near misses, or worse, collisions that can sometimes be very serious

This background presents many challenges for the professional driver trainer who is changing the emphasis from the relatively simple requirements of the driving test and devoting more time to the safety and hazards perception side of driving. It has become increasingly important for the professional driver trainer to work with parents and home supervisors to try and get the best possible result for their students.

The development of comprehensive training courses for professional driver trainer/educators throughout the 1990's leading up to the current "Certificate IV in Driving Instruction" course has enabled professional driver trainers to present far more organised and comprehensive courses to both new and experienced drivers.

There is, built in to the Certificate IV in Driving Instruction course, set methods and procedures which, if properly presented to and practiced by new drivers, will equip them with the ability to cope with many of the distractions they will have to face.

This paper explains how the driving task is learned and how, when many of the driving distractions occur, they can be absorbed into the normal hazard perception and safety part of low risk driving behaviour.