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38 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS This synthesis study has been successful in addressing small Accurate feedback is critical in changing driver behav- and large carrier experiences with, and response to, driver ior; however, inaccurate feedback (especially false pos- distraction for both motor carriers and motor coaches. A itives from safety technologies) can be detrimental. broad view of best practices was gained, as well as views on Currently, the research does appear to be clear that texting driver acceptance and the effectiveness of various types of is very dangerous, hand-held cell phone calls range from humanmachine interfaces. potentially dangerous to very dangerous, with respect to hands free phones, research findings are inconclusive and A summary of results is provided here, followed by the hands-free calls may not be much of a safety concern. team's perception of research priorities going forward. Many common driver distractions identified in the research are not technology-based and would be diffi- Driver distraction is an extremely complex issue. Much cult to manage or regulate (eating, manipulating dials of the historical research presents conflicting findings. and buttons, adjusting mirrors, etc). More research is needed to fully understand the physi- Large and small fleets fundamentally differ in their cal, cognitive, and emotional attributes of technology- approaches for managing distraction--large carriers are and nontechnology-based driver distraction. quick to form policies, whereas small carriers know their There is a fine line between removing unnecessary dis- drivers better and rely on communication and trust. tractions from the truck cab and leaving drivers with enough resources to remain alert and stimulated (e.g., Based on this report, it was concluded that there is a need to radios may present a minimal increase in the potential better understand how the different types of distractions for distraction; however, they prevent the driver from (visual, manual, or cognitive) affect driving performance. For getting bored and losing focus). example, does a driver who is visually distracted drive at There is little empirical research on the operational role slower speeds or brake more readily (i.e., knowingly compen- and safety benefits associated with onboard technolo- sating through cautiousness) because of the reduced visual gies, including onboard safety technologies that can input for lane and headway keeping? To improve the efficacy generate audio and visual distractions, and the indirect of countermeasures in triggering monitoring devices, it is safety benefits associated with onboard communication important to understand how the distraction types affect devices including cell phones and navigation devices. driving performance.