The battle for attention driver distraction – a review of recent research and knowledge

Kinnear, N. and Stevens, A.
Transport Research Foundation

This European literature review provided a broad overview of distracted driving. Authors defined four types of distraction: cognitive, visual, auditory, and manual. Myths about multitasking as well as research to date on technology and distraction were shared, and the effects of distraction young drivers, older drivers, professional drivers, and cyclists were discussed. This literature review offered means of reducing distraction and highlighted the impact distraction has on safety, laws and enforcement, guidelines for future technology, and methods of education and training.

A variety of recommendations were offered including:

  • adopting agreed standard definitions of distracted driving;
  • continued research on distraction, particularly the impact of new technologies on safety, and the use of standardised measures of real driver behaviour and crash data where possible;
  • improve analysis and understanding of the role of distraction in crashes;
  • monitoring public opinion, attitudes and behaviour regarding this issue and initiatives to change public opinion among those who allow themselves to be distracted; and,
  • educating road users of the limitations of the human brain when it comes to multi-tasking.

Kinnear, N., & Stevens, A. (2015). The battle for attention: Driver distraction–a review of recent research and knowledge. Transport Research Foundation, 1-23