Driving Distraction Effects on Reaction Time in Simulated Driving
thesisposted on 16.02.2016, 00:00 by Utumporn Kaewken
According to the statistics by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than nine people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes involving distracted driving daily. Driving distractions are any activities that could take away the driver’s attention from the road, which could be anything from using cell phone to looking at billboards. Due to an alarming increase in cell phone-related accidents, many studies have largely focused on investigating detrimental effects that texting and calling have on the driver’s performance. Multiple findings show a delay in reaction times, variable lane deviations and slow speed when drivers are distracted. This subsequently resulted in the banning of texting in all 50 States and Puerto Rico while calling is prohibited in some area. On the contrary, there have not been many studies about the effects of non-cell phone distractions. Most people also perceive activities, such as eating and looking up directions, as harmless and acceptable to do while driving. In the current study, reaction time was used as a measuring parameter to determine effects of distractions on the drivers. The results show that looking up directions has similar reaction time to texting while eating has similar reaction time to calling. This finding suggests that looking up directions should also be avoided while driving since it generated the same delay as texting. In order to effectively improve road safety and lower distraction-related accident rates, bringing awareness to the public to clarify some misunderstandings about distracted driving is an important step, as risk perception is one of the factors influencing people to engage in reckless behaviors.