Driver-Eye-Movement-Based Investigation for Improving Work-Zone SafetyAuthor/Presenter: Fisher, Dr. Donald L.; Knodler, Dr. Michael; Muttart, Jeffrey
Crashes continue to be a problem in work zones. Analyses have indicated that rear-end and sideswipe crashes are the most frequent. Investigators have hypothesized that distractions are often the cause of both types of crashes. These distractions will only increase as more and more drivers attend to other tasks, such as cell phone conversations. Three experiments were run to determine whether cell phone use in work zones increased drivers’ inattention to the forward roadway. In Experiment 1, drivers were asked to navigate a virtual roadway on a driving simulator which contained a number of work zones. In Experiment 2, drivers were asked to navigate a test track in a real car which contained an actual work zone. And in Experiment 3, drivers were again asked to navigate a virtual roadway with signs warning drivers not to use their cell phones in the work zone. In all experiments, the drivers were asked to engage in a mock cell phone conversation for some portion of the trials. And in all experiments, the drivers’ eyes were tracked. Cell phones clearly decreased drivers’ ability to respond to events around them as determined both by vehicle and eye behavior. And warning signs were effective at increasing drivers’ attention to the roadway.