Distracted driver shock

£12 tool can hack your car
19 Dec, 2012 3:30pm Chris Ebbs

Motorists spend 18 per cent of their journey not looking at the road, according to a study by Direct Line

Drivers spend up to 18 per cent of journey times distracted, according to a study commissioned by insurer Direct Line.

The experiment used eye-tracking technology to record drivers’ eye movements and found that all motorists spent 18 per cent of their journey looking at things other than the road. This figure increased to 22 per cent for the drivers with a sat-nav.

The biggest distraction for drivers without a sat-nav was looking at buildings, clouds and scenery. This accounted for nearly nine per cent of their drive, compared to two per cent looking at oncoming traffic and three per cent in their mirrors.

Looking at pedestrians accounted for three per cent and, while both men and women were guilty of doing this, only men turned their heads completely away from the road.

“For the first time we know exactly where people focus their eyes when driving and the results are frightening.  Even when drivers appear to be watching the road, by tracking movements in the cornea, we now know they are often watching clouds or shop window displays,” a spokesman for Direct Line said.

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Driver control
Is this story part of the attempt to take control away from the driver and give it to the cars with high-tech equipment. I think we're gradually being prepared for driver-less cars.

It's rather worrying, not because of the 'distracted drivers' but because it seems to suggest that only 100% concentration is acceptable. In fact, it's almost impossible and is undesirable (100% concentration leads to fixation, which is as dangerous as distraction).
All surveys of this kind should that are reported in the media should be viewed suspiciously. If there is anything significant to be reported, it won't be in the popular press, and it won't be in the press release of an insurance company.

This article is complete rubbish:

1st- AutoExpress should refer the article to whatever link or report it came from.

2nd - The results from this report are bias because they were made by an entity that has financial interest in the declared results. (Since insurers keep finding more and more ways to increase premiums).

3th - Since auto-express does not disclose the source article, and does not mention if this data is not recorded once the car is not in motion, or below walking pace (in queues), to me it just shows that for some reason direct line wants this number to be high (Anyhow they were found guilty in the past of fiddling with costumer stats just google about it).

I see this sort of stats and studies as an attempt to increase the premiums with cars that have little or no security aids (like lane departure warning or automated braking systems).

While such systems might prove to be safer, insurance companies should be happy that most cars don't have them, since at least it is easy to prove who is liable for the accidents.

Once cars become almost automated who will insurance companies make liable?
(drivers with such systems, will be sure to increase this stats, since the driver will have a false sense of safety and spend more time with his/hers eyes off the road).

I would say it's impossible to concentrate 100%, after all the human mind does tend to drift from time to time.

That's what I said. In the normal scheme of things, 100% concentration over a sustained period is practically impossible. Fixation occurs when someone focuses on one thing to the exclusion of all others, even things that are more important. It's been known about in the aviation industry for years and has resulted in numerous crashes. The concept of 100% concentration, and especially its desirability is a dangerous myth.
There are times when concentration should be as close to 100% as can be achieved: at junctions, preparing to overtake, etc. At other times, we might allow our thoughts to wander a little.

as a bus driver i have to take my eyes of road regularly to change ticket to right stage, but bus companys wont change there ways so why should motorists this is a load of rubbish before long we wont be able to pick our noses behind wheel without it been an offence.

Whilst I'm sure the 18% is fairly arbitrary, I wouldn't be surprised because cars are increasingly packed with displays and gadgets to fiddle with. Couple this with other distractions like smartphones and the declining mindset of what's important when driving (e.g. concentration, hazard perception, etc...) and I reckon the basis of this article is probably sound, despite Direct Line obviously have a clear profit-making motive behind their press release.

The message from 'road safety' groups is that going slowly makes you a good driver and they never say a peep about driver distraction or inattention/lack of observation, which is demonstrably the number 1 cause of road accidents.

The irony is that these same 'road safety' groups would label 'speeders' (at a safe speed), with full concentration on their driving (not 'fiddling'), as a danger.

Oh yes and Direct Line funds one such organisation - Brake.

@ Fadyady:

"Is this story part of the attempt to take control away from the driver and give it to the cars with high-tech equipment. I think we're gradually being prepared for driver-less cars."

Qute possibly, However, the disturbing thing is a lot of people I speak to welcome such a concept - because most people don't really enjoy driving or consider it a skill - they just want to go from A to B whilst updating their Facebook page that nobody is really interested in. They probably do that already, weaving all over the road, not looking where they're going, so having the car drive itself would be great in their eyes.

Direct Line fund anti-car lobbyists Brake? Well that's good enough reason alone not to publish any more so-called 'study' from them.