This report, authored and published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was created to communicate NHTSA’s priorities related to distracted driving and associated safety challenges to the public. Three categories of distraction (i.e., visual, manual, and cognitive) are described, in conjunction with the incidence and safety consequences of distraction. In particular, several studies have demonstrated shown that risk increases due to degradation in driving performance during multitasking, including slower reaction times and narrowed visual scanning.
In this report, the role of technology-based distractions and countermeasures for distracted drivers are also examined. It is concluded that distraction is a safety problem that can increase crash risk. As such, future research is needed to improve existing data related to risk estimates and increase insight into the role of distraction in crashes.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2010). Overview of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Driver Distraction Program. DOT HS 811 299. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington.