Victorian Drivers' Exposure to Technology-Based Distractions: Policy Initiatives Deriving from a Driver Survey
This project aimed to derive fundamental knowledge about driver exposure to technology-based distracting activities and the conditions in which distraction is experienced. An Internet survey of 287 Victorian drivers was conducted to: determine the extent to which drivers reportedly are exposed to technology-based sources of distraction; factors that influence willingness to engage in distracting activities; and strategies used to manage distraction. The survey found that almost 60% of drivers use a mobile phone while driving and over one third of these drivers use the phone in hand-held mode. Young drivers (18-25 yrs) also SMS more frequently than middle-age (26-54 yrs) and older (55+ yrs) drivers, with 88% of young drivers reading SMS and 77% sending SMS while driving. A high proportion of drivers use audio entertainment systems, but few use in-vehicle visual displays such as DVD players. Most drivers (84%) believe they drive in a less safe manner when engaged in distracting tasks and, importantly, take steps to avoid distractions. Based on the survey results, recommendations are offered regarding how to better target distraction policy and countermeasures.