Evaluating Driver Distraction from In-Vehicle Voice Systems


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) needs further first-hand research to understand the potential for driver distraction caused by using voice control systems in vehicles. Established measures of drivers’ eye glance behavior and mental workload could be useful for evaluating such systems. However, it is not clear how such laboratory measures relate to real-world crash risk.

Westat will conduct several empirical studies to examine the links between laboratory measures of driver distraction and on-road driving performance. The University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin will support this research for NHTSA.

This project will also consider how a large existing set of naturalistic driving data can be used to estimate crash risk for driver interactions with voice control systems that, for example, may alter their response time for a hazard ahead in the road.

The findings from this project will help NHTSA further develop its Driver Distraction Guidelines, which may include evaluation protocols for voice control systems.