SWOV Catalogus


Confronting driver distraction.
C 38584 [electronic version only]
Weiss, M.
The Futurist, Vol. 41 (2007), No. 1 (January-February), p. 16-17

Samenvatting On a recent road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Interstate 15, I noticed a seemingly countless array of tire scuff marks leading from the center median, arcing steeply over to the right-hand side fog line, and off the road. The sharp angles of these scuff marks were a clear sign of drivers losing control of their vehicles. The drivers are so inattentive, perhaps even asleep, that they drive into the center of the road before they are jolted back to reality as the vehicle hits the median. Upon regaining consciousness, they overcorrect their steering, causing the vehicle to spin out of control and even roll over. Most drivers fail to recognize the immense power of a speeding vehicle's kinetic energy. Driver distraction is responsible for 80% of motor-vehicle accidents, according to a recent study for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Drivers have literally been lulled into a false sense of safety and security by the very sophistication of the modern car. Newer vehicles drive more and more effortlessly. A similar study of driver behavior found no reduction of accidents or injuries in cars with airbags and antilock brakes. The researchers concluded that the safety features encourage more-aggressive driving?a paradox referred to as the offset hypothesis. (Author/publisher)
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