Meta-Study on Driver Distraction and Voice Interaction

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Can voice interaction help reducing the level of distraction and prevent accidents?

This paper reviews the current state of knowledge in the field of driver distraction, its causes and correlates, its effects on driving performance and accident hazard, and the role of voice interaction for a better driving safety. It summarizes the results of an extensive literature review in the field of driver distraction and voice interaction and presents an overview of relevant findings from 35 selected publications between 2000 and 2011.

Driver distraction caused by interacting with technology while driving is a predominant and increasingly relevant accident hazard. The interaction with ICT products can be associated with cognitive and visual driver distraction. The actual level of driver distraction depends on characteristics of the secondary task and the used interaction mode. Cognitive distraction is mainly determined by interaction complexity whereas visual distraction can be avoided by using voice interaction instead of manually controlled systems with a graphical display. Compared to cognitive distraction, visual distraction has much stronger effects on driving performance and accident hazard. As a consequence, voice interaction is consistently shown to be superior in terms of driver distraction, driving performance and accident hazard when compared with manual control and graphical displays. Therefore, voice interaction is often referred to as an important and indispensable contribution to safer driving. However, the design and implementation of a speechbased system play an essential role for the effectiveness and safety of voice interaction in the car. An accurate speech recognizer and an easy-to-use voice user interface are the main prerequisites in order to make full use of the potentials of voice interaction.

In summary, well-designed speech-based in-vehicle systems will allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, making it possible to improve driving performance and reduce accident hazard.

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