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(VIP Driving School Driver Safety Series Article #4, October 2018)
Today it was reported that the Monash University Accident Research Centre is publishing a report into driver behaviour which found that a typical modern driver keeps their attention on the road for an average of 96 seconds, before becoming distracted by something else for 2 or more seconds.
The four-month study involved multiple cameras setup inside vehicles of 117 drivers from Victoria and New South Wales and helped researchers analyse their behaviour over 185 trips. A total of 1,600 distractions were observed with drivers typically spending almost half their time distracted with something other than actual driving.
It was also found that 20 per cent of the drivers were sometimes distracted by several other tasks at once while also driving. These distractions included eating, talking on their mobile phone and adjusting the radio. Other distractions included playing with their seat belt and operating control buttons on the centre stack while the car is moving.
An increase in unsafe driving behaviour was also observed when these distractions occurred. It was specifically found also that 23 per cent of unsafe driving behaviour or conflict with other road users observed resulted from the drivers checking their phones or engaging in phone conversations.
Personal grooming was another safety concern, with many drivers observed brushing their hair, brushing their teeth and putting make-up on while operating a motor vehicle. Reaching for things such as sunglasses, bags, mobile phones and food in the car was also a significant problem seen.
“Reaching for things while you’re driving can increase your risk of being involved in a crash by nine times,” said Dr. Kristie Young who is the lead author on the report to be published in the coming weeks. “Anything that takes your eyes off the road for two or more seconds doubles the risk of you crashing.”
As some of the unsafe habits are of an automatic nature and some can easily be avoided, it is hoped that the report will help people understand what happens behind the wheel and the potential for injury to themselves and others on the road.
Link to the original article: