The aim of this study was to investigate how texting when the smartphone in a mount next to the wheel, negatively affects safe driving behavior and gaze behavior. In most countries hand-held phone use while driving is prohibited. However, when texting is not explicitly forbidden and only hand-held use is not allowed, drivers can still legally operate their smartphone with their fingers when it is placed in a mount which is attached to the dashboard or the windscreen. The effects on driving and gaze behavior of ‘dashboard-mount’ texting have hardly been investigated. Twenty-seven participants drove three short identical drives in a simulator while their driving behavior and gaze behavior was measured. This was a drive in which participants did not text (baseline drive), a drive while they texted with a smartphone in one hand (hand-held drive), and a drive in which they texted while the phone was placed in a dashboard-mount (dashboard-mount drive). Participants looked significantly more often at the smartphone during the dashboard-mount than during the hand-held drive. Total dwell time at the smartphone was significantly longer during the dashboard-mount than during the hand-held drive. There were no significant differences between the two texting drives in the number of glances longer than 2 s, the longest glance of each participant, and mean fixation duration at the smartphone. Total dwell time in the mirrors was significantly shorter during the two texting drives than in the baseline drive but did not differ between the two texting drives. The drivers showed poorer lateral control and varied their speed more in the two texting drives than in the baseline drive. They also drove significantly slower in the two texting drives than in the baseline drive. Finally, subjective workload was much higher in the two texting drives than in the baseline drive. The results indicate that dashboard-mount texting deteriorates the safe execution of the driving task to at least the same extend as hand-held texting does.
Driving and gaze behavior while texting when the smartphone is placed in a mount: A simulator study
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
76 (January 2021)