Individual differences and propensity to engage with in-vehicle distractions – A self-report survey

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    Abstract

    Ratings of severity and frequency of engagement with distracting driver behaviours are reported in this paper. Survey data were collected using an anonymous online questionnaire. Four hundred eighty-two respondents contributed to the survey during a 2 month data collection period. Results indicate that the three behaviours rated as most distracting when driving were (i) writing text messages (41%), (ii) reading text messages (62%), and (iii) using a cellular telephone hand-held (52%). The three most frequently reported distracting behaviours that resulted in accidents were (i) ‘interaction with child passengers’ 2.1% (near misses = 7.5%), (ii) both, route guidance destination entry with 2% (near misses = 2.8%) and use of an ‘… add-on media device, e.g., an iPod’ with 2% (near misses = 3.9%), and (iii) the three items ‘reading a text message’, ‘following advice from a route guidance system’, and ‘interaction with pets’, all with 1.7% of respondents reporting an accident when undertaking the activity (with 6.5%, 3%, and 2.2% respectively for near misses). Two hierarchical regression models were explored. The first introducing personal factors, i.e., age, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and intellect (R2 = 0.131, p < 0.001). The second controlled for variables in the first model and introduced driver-related variables, mileage, penalty points, and frequency of accidents with assumed responsibility (R2 = 0.253, p < 0.001). This model identified age, extraversion, mileage, penalty points and accidents all to be significant predictors of engagement with unnecessary distractions. The data presents a picture of widespread awareness of, and engagement with, distracting behaviours by drivers in the United Kingdom. Findings from the hierarchical regressions suggest scope may exist to mediate the levels of distracting behaviours by exploring individual differences and driving styles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

    Keywords

    • Driver
    • Distraction
    • Attention
    • Survey
    • Personality

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