Driver distraction: a review of the literature

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Driver distraction has been defined in many different ways. The most important difference is whether only visual inattention or also cognitive inattention should be included. Many different methods have been used to assess the prevalence and types of driver distraction that occur, and to describe the consequences in terms of driving performance and crash involvement. There is strong agreement that distraction is detrimental for driving, and that the risk for crashes increases. Drivers rather opt for repeated glances instead of extending one single glance, if the secondary task demands attention for a longer period of time. However, repeated glances have more detrimental effects on driving performance than a single glance of the same duration as one of the repeated glances. Only recently the method of remote eye tracking has emerged, which enables real time identification of visual distraction. So far this method has mostly been used in driving simulators. Different algorithms that diagnose distracted drivers have been tested with promising results. In simulators it is difficult, however, to induce true distraction, due to the short duration of the experiment and the artificial setting. A prolonged field study under naturalistic conditions could provide new insights and validation of simulator studies.

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