Starkey, N. J., & Charlton, S. G. (2020). Drivers use of in-vehicle information systems and perceptions of their effects on driving. Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, 2. https://doi.org/10.3389/frsc.2020.00039
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13723
In recent years the number of cars on the road with manufacturer installed in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) has increased dramatically, and with smartphones connecting directly to these systems drivers can access a wide range of applications on the move. Some IVIS features are designed to improve safety (e.g., speed and collision warnings) but access via an IVIS to all apps on a smartphone has the potential to distract drivers and increase crash risk. We undertook this study to find out what IVIS features and apps drivers use and to ask about their effects on driving. An online survey completed by 1,017 drivers (50% female, 16–85 years) revealed the most common activity drivers engaged in was listening to music, followed by listening to directions. Fewer than half of the drivers reported conversing on a hands-free phone and 25% reported texting/sending emails or using social media. Frequency of engagement in secondary tasks decreased with age. Using hand-held mobiles was rated as having the greatest negative impact on driving, with drivers attempting to mitigate the risk by carrying out the activity in slow moving traffic or at traffic lights. Females rated the risk of most of the secondary tasks as greater than males. Almost half of the sample had access to speed warnings systems but only a small proportion had experience of lane departure, dangerous curve or intersection warning systems. Of those with access to driver safety systems, 50–70% never used them despite rating the system as useful and as having safety benefits. As the number of vehicles with manufacturer installed IVIS continues to increase on the road, drivers' engagement with them while driving is also likely to increase. To address this, there is a need for a multi-agency approach to educate drivers on the safe use of these systems and apps in their vehicles. Incentives for drivers to use the safety-related features may also be worth considering.
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