Driver Distraction/Overload Research and Engineering: Problems and Solutions 2010-01-2331
Driver distraction is a topic of considerable interest, with the public debate centering on the use of cell phones and texting while driving. However, the driver distraction/overload issue is really much larger. It concerns specific tasks such as entering destinations on navigation systems, retrieving songs on MP3 players, accessing web pages, checking stocks, editing spreadsheets, and performing other tasks on smart phones, as well as, more generally, using in-vehicle information systems.
Five major problems related to distraction/overload research and engineering and their solutions are addressed in this paper. Problems include (1) the misuse of the term distraction (and possible misdirection of effort), (2) driving performance measures and statistics that are either undefined or poorly defined (to be resolved by an SAE practice), (3) the workload of the driving task is not quantified (for which an equation is proposed), (4) the demand characteristics of in-vehicle tasks are not quantified (for which a scheme is proposed), and (5) too often, standards specify only measurement methods, not compliance criteria (which must be developed).