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Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

In 2020-2021, the AAA Road Safety Research Program’s priority focus area will be the topic of ‘distracted driving’.

Distracted driving plays a large role in the number of road crashes and subsequent road fatalities and injuries in Australia and globally. Research has shown that in Australia, distraction is the main contributing factor in approximately 16% of serious casualty road crashes and also suggests that distracted driving is as dangerous, if not more dangerous than drink driving. It is a serious problem on Australian roads.

Driver distraction can be understood as any circumstance where the driver is diverting attention away from critical activities for safe driving towards another competing activity. Distraction can be cognitive or mental (the mind is engaged with non-driving related tasks), visual (taking eyes of the road), auditory (noise that diverts attention), or manual (taking hands off the vehicle controls).

Distraction causes increased reaction time (including braking), impairs a driver’s ability to maintain speed and lane position, and impacts the operational efficiency of traffic, bringing with it the potential to seriously and negatively impact a broad range of road users.

The AAA Road Safety Research Program is looking to fund research that will help us to better understand the scope of the problem, understand what causes distraction, what countermeasures are effective and innovative solutions to tackle this serious road safety problem.

Current distracted driving research

Distracted driving literature review

To support the AAA Road Safety Research Program’s research into distracted driving, the AAA commissioned a foundational piece of work to scope the distracted driving literature and policy landscape/s that consider the following key themes related to distracted driving: Human behaviour, policy and regulation, technology, and legal, enforcement and compliance frameworks.

The literature review included a thematic review of the international literature as well as:

  • the identification, comparison, and assessment of the efficacy of distracted driving legislative/regulatory / policy frameworks currently operating in either Australian jurisdictions or comparable overseas countries (for heavy and light vehicles).
  • the identification of recent distracted driving countermeasures in Australia and an assessment of any evaluations of such
  • a list /summary table of key researchers/research organisations in Australia and comparable overseas countries that are working in distracted driving and their affiliations and areas of
  • The AAA was very pleased to award the work to Criminology Institute at Griffith University. The team consisted of Dr Lyndel Bates, Margo Van Felius and Marina Alexander. The final report was professional, thorough, and comprehensively synthesised the distracted driving literature and current policy landscape.
  • Final Report: DD2020-01 AAA Distracted Driving Review 
  • Appendicies: DD2020-01 DD Literature Review