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ARRB talks driver distraction with ABC Radio

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The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) recently contributed to an ABC radio broadcast to discuss the Board’s involvement with a driver distraction study.

ARRB Principal Technology Leader – Transport Safety, Dr Anna Chevalier, appeared on Steve Martin’s breakfast show on ABC Local Radio Ballarat to talk about a consultation regulation impact statement that seeks feedback on technology-neutral options to regular driver distraction.

To support the National Transport Commission’s efforts in stimulating discussions about driver distraction research, policy and legislative reform options, Dr Chevalier, Rachel Goodsell and Mitch Cunningham reviewed internationally published, peer-reviewed research available to date on the risks associated with driver distraction.

The study, Driver Distraction: A Review of Scientific Literature, was authored by Goodsell, Cunningham and Dr Chevalier and prepared for the National Transport Commission.

This document covers driver distraction, driving performance, crash risk and road trauma, physiological indicators of driver distraction and cognitive load and guidelines to minimise driver distraction due to in-vehicle technology.

The study found that visual-manual interactions (mobile phone texting and manual input of a destination into a navigation system) have a greater potential to interfere with activities critical for safe driving than voice interactions. However, research also found that voice interactions have the potential to degrade driving performance compared to driving while not engaged in a secondary activity.

On the subject of whether physiological symptoms of driver distraction can be accurately identified and measured, the study concluded that eye-glance metrics are considered the most sensitive and robust indicators, particularly offroad glance frequency and duration.

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