Mitigating the effects of in-vehicle distractions through use of the Psychological Refractory Period paradigm

Hibberd, D.L., Jamson, S.L., and Carsten, O.M.J.
Elsevier

The objective of this study was to explore potential methods to manage in-vehicle task presentation to minimize the chance of negative effects on driver distraction. A total of 48 participants were included in this European study and the average age of participants was 27.5 years. Study participants were required to perform in-vehicle tasks while braking when they were driving the simulator to investigate how the speed of braking response is affected when drivers are engaged in another task. Results indicated that conducting a simple in-vehicle task immediately before a braking event can slow the response to that event. In fact, the braking response can be delayed by up to 0.17 seconds which equals a 5.45 meter increase in stopping distance when the vehicle starting speed is 70 mph.

The authors suggest that future research should examine tasks that are tailored to the participant’s lifestyle, as reaction times vary for each individual, especially when they are performing a task they may not normally engage in while driving.

Reference
Hibberd, D. L., Jamson, S. L., & Carsten, O. M. (2013). Mitigating the effects of in-vehicle distractions through use of the Psychological Refractory Period paradigm. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 50, 1096-1103.