Monday, March 14, 2005

Keeping our eyes on the road

Regulators hope to take focus away from an ever growing number of distractions.

A study by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2000 estimated distraction to be the contributing factor in 20 to 50 per cent of all collisions.

The Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire, England, stated in a 2002 paper that talking on a cellphone impaired a driver's reaction time significantly more than having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. In the future, MADD might also stand for Mothers Against Digital Dialling.

Peter Burns, chief of ergonomics and crash avoidance at Transport Canada's Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, is helping to shape Canada's direction on these issues and, more specifically, what type of dashboard we'll use to get there.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers prefers a guideline of a maximum of 20 seconds to complete a dash task with no more than a two-second glance. This compares with Transport Canada's suggestion of a 10-second completion maximum with a 1.5-second glance limit.

Driver Simulator - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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