Research & reports

Title: Smartphone use while driving - a simulator study

Organisation: IAM & TRL
Date uploaded: 12th March 2012
Date published/launched: March 2012

The IAM commissioned TRL to analyse whether using a smartphone to access social networking sites affects driving.

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Over the last few years mobile phones have become significantly more developed, allowing people to access social networking sites, browse the internet, use maps and play music. Complex applications can now be used on the move anywhere in the world. As technology advances further we need to understand its impact on driver behaviour.

The IAM commissioned TRL to analyse whether using a smartphone to access social networking sites affects driving. The full results can be found in ‘Smartphone use while driving - a simulator study’, published separately on our website.

The results of the experiment clearly show that participants’ driving performance was impaired by the smartphone task.

There was a significant impact on:

• Time spent looking at the road
• Reaction times to stimuli
• Lane position
• Speed

These results suggest that participants’ driving was significantly impaired when they were using a smartphone while driving.

The researchers concluded that three types of distraction affected driver behaviour; having to concentrate on the smartphone task (cognitive), holding the phone (physical), and the significant increase in time spent looking at the phone (visual) in order to interact with it.

For more information contact:
Nick Reed
T: +44 (0)1344 770046

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