SWOV Catalogus


The significance of attention and distraction in traffic.
C 23384 [electronic version only] /83 / ITRD E206632
Vlakveld, W.P.
Rotterdam, Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Transport Research Centre TRC-AVV, 2001, 19 p., 17 ref.

Samenvatting This paper mainly considers car driver distraction as defined in the following way: a driver is distracted when he/she misses, fails to notice in time or to comprehend information which is necessary to be able to undertake the driving task adequately because his or her attention is focused on events , activities, objects or persons which are not connected with the driving task. It is stated that there is no unified theory on attention in cognitive psychology. There are roughly two theoretical schools of thought. The first group of theories, known as the "bottleneck" theories, assumes that there is some type of filter on the perceptive cognitive process to prevent the human short term memory becoming overloaded. The main principle behind the second group of theories, known as the "attentional resource" theories, is that there is a certain amount of attention which can be allocated in differerent ways. Both schools of thought are required to be able to explain the role of attention in performing the driving task. Some remarks are made on combining the driving task with another task (for instance, auditory, and visual). The role of driver distraction in traffic accidents and the specific sources of this distraction are shown, using some results from an analysis study of 1995-1999 Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) data (See ITRD E206577 (C 22780). Based on the task capability interface model of the driving process (See ITRD F110131), the driving task is briefly analysed. This analysis includes suggestions on how to counter distractions in relation to accidents.
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