Distraction-induced driving error: an on-road examination of the errors made by distracted and undistracted drivers

Kristie Lee Young, Paul Matthew Salmon, Miranda Cornelissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the nature of errors made by drivers when distracted versus not distracted. Participants drove an instrumented vehicle around an urban test route both while distracted (performing a visual detection task) and while not distracted. Two in-vehicle observers recorded the driving errors made, and a range of other data were collected, including driver verbal protocols, forward, cockpit and driver video, and vehicle data (speed, braking, steering wheel angle, etc.). Classification of the errors revealed that drivers were significantly more likely to make errors when distracted; although driving errors were prevalent even when not distracted. Interestingly, the nature of the errors made when distracted did not differ substantially from those made when not distracted, suggesting that, rather than making different types of errors, distracted drivers simply make a greater number of the same error types they make when not distracted. Avenues for broadening our understanding of the relationship between distraction and driving errors are discussed along with the advantages of using a multi-method framework for studying driver behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218 - 225
Number of pages8
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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