Public Release: 

Ergonomics in Design special issue on driver distraction now online

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

The October special issue of Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications featuring research on the science and technology of driver distraction is available online.

"This special issue of Ergonomics in Design brings together a selection of articles that describe the challenge of balancing the economic pressures, desires, and behaviors of other drivers with the limits of human attention," said guest editors Linda S. Angell and John D. Lee.

The articles are organized into three topics: the scientific basis for action on distraction; action through design: applying knowledge to prevent or mitigate distraction; and action through outreach. A brief description of the articles appears below:

  • "Assessing the Effects of In-Vehicle Tasks on Driving Performance": Distractions in the vehicle - whether visual or cognitive - pose challenges for mitigation through design, education, and legislation.
  • "Estimating Crash Risk": Accident data must be considered in the context of real-world driving if they are to lead to realistic preventive behavior.
  • "Ford's Approach to Managing Driver Attention: SYNC and MyFord Touch": Voice commands prove less visually distracting for performing in-vehicle tasks such as dialing a phone number and selecting a tune.
  • "General Motors' Approach to Managing Driver Workload: A Brief Overview": Keeping drivers' eyes on the road and hands on the wheel are critical goals for developers of in-vehicle communication and entertainment technology.
  • "Distraction and Inattention Countermeasure Technologies": A variety of techniques - some already available - can be applied to in-vehicle technology to prevent driver distraction and associated risk.
  • "Action Through Advocacy": Working with the media and legislators on hot HF/E topics can be a lot of work but ultimately can have positive effects.
  • "The Building Blocks of Driver Distraction Policy": A firm basis in scientific findings is just the start of the effort to influence legislation that can make driving safer.

"The articles in this special issue underscore the need that HF/E professionals have to provide a coherent and deep understanding in this domain and to build a truly integrative discipline that connects science and practice," continued Angell and Lee. "They invite us to build a more complete picture of distraction and use it to address driver distraction through design and outreach."


The online October special issue is at SAGE Journals Online at Open access to the articles is available now through March 31, 2012, so please feel free to forward this information to interested colleagues.

Questions about the journal or HFES may be directed to HFES Communications Director Lois Smith (310/394-1811;

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest nonprofit individual-member, multidisciplinary scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,600 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. Watch science news stories about other HF/E topics at "Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering"

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