Examining the physical and psychological antecedents of distracted driving

Distracted driving is now widely recognised as a serious threat to road safety. Research has found that distracted driving is the main contributing factor in almost 16% of serious casualty road crashes resulting in hospital attendance in Australia (Beanland, Fitzharris, Young & Lenné, 2013). This PhD project will use data from the Australian Naturalistic Driving Study (ANDS) to examine the physical and psychological antecedents of distracted driving and its consequences. Specifically, the project will determine whether a range of physical and psychological factors (e.g. visual, perceptual, and cognitive capabilities, sensation seeking, strength tests) influence drivers’ willingness to engage in distracting tasks while driving and also how these factors might moderate the impact of distraction on driving performance once engaged. The project will make use of the ANDS driving, video, and physical and psychological assessment data. The ANDS was an ARC Linkage project involving almost 380 drivers from Victoria and New South Wales that aimed to understand what people do when driving their cars in everyday and safety-critical situations. Data from this study offers an exciting and unique opportunity to examine driver engagement in distracted driving under real-world driving conditions.

This thesis would be supervised by Dr Kristie Young and Assoc Prof Sjaan Koppel.

Learn more about our Systems Safety team