Driver distraction is a significant risk factor in traffic. It occurs when attention is diverted away from activities needed for safe driving towards a competing activity. Distraction can be visual, auditory, physical and/or cognitive in nature. Common sources are mobile phone/device use, interaction with passengers, eating, and adjusting in-vehicle technolo-gies. Distracted driving is a frequent phenomenon. Large-scale research on everyday driver behaviour in natural contexts indicates that car drivers are involved in other activ-ities for about half of driving time. The use of the mobile phone while driving is one of the most common sources of driver distraction. The self-declared prevalence of mobile phone use while driving a car in Europe is 47.7% for the use of hands-free devices, 28.6% for talking on a hand-held mobile phone, and 24.2% for text reading/checking social me-dia. While the latter two of these mobile phone-related activities are illegal, hands-free phoning is generally not. A common finding in surveys and observational studies is that the use of mobile phones while driving is higher among younger drivers and lower among older ones. Distracted drivers generally tend to swerve more, have longer reaction times, and miss information from the traffic environment, but the effects and risks depend on the type of distraction. Large-scale naturalistic driving research indicates that activities that force the driver to avert his gaze from the road and/or require manual interventions are more risky than primarily mental activities. Hand-held phone use increases the crash risk for car drivers by a factor of 3.6, especially dialing (x12) and texting (x6).
Driver distraction 2022
Road Safety Thematic Report
20220371 ST [electronic version only]
European Commission / European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO), [Brussels]