Driver distraction

Title: What impact does legislation have on drivers' in-vehicle use of nomadic devices?

Organisation: University of Leeds (Institute for Transport Studies)
Date uploaded: 2nd July 2013
Date published/launched: January 2013

In this study, more than 1,500 drivers across Europe were surveyed and using their country of residence as a proxy for the stringency of legislation, their propensity to own, use and engage in risky interactions with nomadic devices was modelled.

Purchase
Nomadic devices are portable technologies that drivers are able to use as means of navigation, entertainment or communication. Behavioural studies indicate that using nomadic devices while driving can result in visual, cognitive and manual distraction leading to poorer vehicle control and reduced attention to critical events.

Legislative attempts have been made to impose restrictions on the use of some devices while driving, translating to either a total ban (as in the case of hand-held mobile phones) to limiting the level of interaction (e.g. not entering or changing a destination in a navigation system).

In this study, more than 1,500 drivers across Europe were surveyed and using their country of residence as a proxy for the stringency of legislation, their propensity to own, use and engage in risky interactions with nomadic devices was modelled.

Key results
While the results varied depending on the nomadic device, the relationship between legislation and use was not always straightforward.

Mobile phone legislation, which is relatively simple and well promoted, was clearly understood and adhered to; however, more complicated or less advertised legislation such as that pertaining to navigation devices and music players was poorly comprehended and, where present, generally not complied with.

The study highlights the need for drivers to be presented with clear legislation, supported by educational and enforcement campaigns.

For more information contact:
Dr Samantha Jamson

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