The underlying aim of HASTE, an EU FP5 project, is the development of a valid, cost-effective and reliable assessment protocol to evaluate the potential distraction of an in-vehicle information system on driving performance. As part of this development, the current study was performed to examine the systematic relationship between primary and secondary task complexity for a specific task modality in a particular driving environment. Two fundamentally distinct secondary tasks (or surrogate in-vehicle information systems, sIVIS) were developed: a visual search task, designed such that it only required visual processing/demand and an auditory continuous memory task, intended to cognitively load drivers without any visual stimulus. A high fidelity, fixed-base driving simulator was used to test 48 participants on a car following task. Virtual traffic scenarios varied in driving demand. Drivers compensated for both types of sIVIS by reducing their speed (this result was more prominent during interaction with the visual task). However, they seemed incapable of fully prioritising the primary driving task over either the visual or cognitive secondary tasks as an increase in sIVIS demand was associated with a reduction in driving performance: drivers showed reduced anticipation of braking requirements and shorter time-to-collision. These results are of potential interest to designers of in-vehicle systems
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.