Distracted Driving

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The Impact of Visual and Cognitive Distractions on Driving Performance

While driving small mistakes can have fatal consequences, in 2012 alone distractions led to 3,328 deaths and an estimated 421,000 injuries (http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html). Some of the major causes of these mistakes are manual distractions (e.g. eating and driving), visual distractions (e.g. looking at an accident on the side of the road), and cognitive distractions (e.g. talking on a cell phone while driving). Our lab is currently investigating how visual and cognitive distractions impact driving performance using a by simulating driving scenarios in an immersive driving simulator.

Previous experiments have drawn the attention of drivers to one side of the road. Here we were replicating a previous study that found that this manipulation causes drivers to drive towards the distraction. We are also examining how the implementation of drivers aids impact how cognitively engaged drivers are while driving. The results from these studies will provide valuable information about how to build cars that help keep drivers visually and cognitively attentive while driving.

This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Panos Antsaklis and Jose Lugo and funded by the Office of Research Equipment Restoration Grant.