The impact of distraction mitigation strategies on driving performance

Birsen Donmez, Linda Ng Boyle, John D. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: An experiment was conducted to assess the effects of distraction mitigation strategies on drivers' performance and productivity while engaged in an invehicle information system task. Background: Previous studies show that in-vehicle tasks undermine driver safety and there is a need to mitigate driver distraction. Method: An advising strategy that alerts drivers to potential dangers and a locking strategy that prevents the driver from continuing the distracting task were presented to 16 middle-aged and 12 older drivers in a driving simulator in two modes (auditory, visual) and two road conditions (curves, braking events). Results: Distraction was a problem for both age groups. Visual distractions were more detrimental than auditory ones for curve negotiation, as depicted by more erratic steering, F(6, 155) = 26.76, p < .05. Drivers did brake more abruptly under auditory distractions, but this effect was mitigated by both the advising, t(155) = 8.37, p < .05, and locking strategies, t(155) = 8.49, p < .05. The locking strategy also resulted in longer minimum time to collision for middle-aged drivers engaged in visual distractions, F(6, 138) = 2.43, p < .05. Conclusions: Adaptive interfaces can reduce abrupt braking on curve entries resulting from auditory distractions and can also improve the braking response for distracted drivers. Application: These strategies can be incorporated into existing in-vehicle systems, thus mitigating the effects of distraction and improving driver performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-804
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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