• Effects of Reading Text While Driving: A Driving Simulator Study

      Prevedouros, Panos; Miah, M. Mintu; Nathanail, Eftihia (2020-02)
      Although 47 US states make the use of a mobile phone while driving illegal, many people use their phone for texting and other tasks while driving. This research project summarized the large literature on distracted driving and compared major outcomes with those of our study. We focused on distraction due to reading text because this activity is most common. For this research project, we collected simulator observations of 203 professional taxi drivers (175 male, and 28 female) working at the same Honolulu taxi company, using the mid-range driving simulator VS500M by Virage. After a familiarization period, drivers were asked to read realistic text content relating to passenger pick up displayed on a 7-inch tablet affixed to the dashboard. The experimental scenario was simulated on a two-lane rural highway having a speed limit of 60 mph and medium traffic. Drivers needed to follow the lead vehicle under regular and text-reading conditions. The large sample size of this study provided a strong statistical base for driving distraction investigation on a driving simulator. The comparison between regular and text-reading conditions revealed that the drivers significantly increased their headway (20.7%), lane deviations (354%), total time of driving blind (352%), maximum duration of driving blind (87.6% per glance), driving blind incidents (170%), driving blind distance (337%) and significantly decreased lane change frequency (35.1%). There was no significant effect on braking aggressiveness while reading text. The outcomes indicate that driving performance degrades significantly by reading text while driving. Additional analysis revealed that important predictors for maximum driving blind time changes are sociodemographic characteristics, such as age and race, and past behavior attributes.