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Accid Anal Prev. 2011 May;43(3):939-47. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.11.019. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

Driver performance while text messaging using handheld and in-vehicle systems.

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Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 3500 Transportation Research Plaza, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


This study presents an evaluation of driver performance while text messaging via handheld mobile phones and an in-vehicle texting system. Participants sent and received text messages while driving with an experimenter on a closed-road course, using their personal mobile phones and the vehicle's system. The test vehicle was an instrumented 2010 Mercury Mariner equipped with an OEM in-vehicle system that supports text messaging and voice control of mobile devices via Bluetooth, which was modified to allow text message sending during driving. Twenty participants were tested, 11 younger (19-34) and 9 older (39-51). All participants were regular users of the in-vehicle system, although none had experience with the texting functions. Results indicated that handheld text message sending and receiving resulted in higher mental demand, more frequent and longer glances away from the roadway, and degraded steering measures compared to baseline. Using the in-vehicle system to send messages showed less performance degradation, but still had more task-related interior glance time and higher mental demand than baseline; using the system's text-to-speech functionality for incoming messages showed no differences from baseline. These findings suggest that using handheld phones to send and receive text messages may interfere with drivers' visual and steering behaviors; the in-vehicle system showed improvement, but performance was not at baseline levels during message sending.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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