In 2007, a workshop was conducted at the Department for Transport, and the conclusion was drawn that driver distraction is a significant factor in accident causation, but is neither completely understood nor documented. This Insight Report describes the results of four recent TRL studies in the field of in-vehicle distraction. The scoping study of driver distraction brought together experts in the field to discuss the concept of driver distraction and reach agreement on a definition. The project reviewed observation-based, experimental and opinion-based research and identified a range of research gaps. In terms of experimental research, this Insight Report describes two driving simulator studies that were conducted to examine how mobile phone use affects driving performance. One study showed that reaction times were significantly increased when using a mobile phone compared with a conversation with a passenger, using in-vehicle controls and without any simultaneous tasks. The second study showed that mobile phone use resulted in significantly higher reaction times, even when compared with driving at the UK legal limit for alcohol consumption. Finally, in terms of metrics and measures, this Insight Report describes the research that was carried out in developing the Occlusion Protocol, which is a technique for measuring visual demand.

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