Driver Distraction

Will Fitzgerald
I/NET, Inc.

March, 2001

When my wife was taking driver education classes as a teenager, she was given a final exam with the following fill-in-the-blank question:

Driving is a ____ time job.

It’s one of our family jokes to think of answers other than “full.” Of course, when my wife and I were teenagers, we didn’t have to drive and talk on a cell phone, get the kids to stop fighting in the back seat, play a CD, or interact with an on-board navigation system. Nor were the streets filled with other drivers doing the same thing (except for the fighting kids, of course). So, I guess the answer today is “Driving is a more-than-a-full-time job.”

It seems unlikely that cars are going to any less complicated in the near future. In order to understand how technology contributes to problems of driver distraction–as well as possible technological solutions to driver distraction–we need a good understanding of how people act and react to the increasingly complicated driving environment.


    1  A Simple Model of Human Attention Processing

    2  The Effects of Driver Distraction

    3  Measuring Driver Distractions

    4  Minimizing Driver Distraction

    5  Other resources

    A  Are “hands-free” cell phones “risk-free”?

    B  Acknowledgements