According to a recent test by European manufacturer Peugeot, drivers have their eyes on the road 93% of the time, on average, which is good until you realize that during a 1-hour drive, the driver potentially diverts attention from the road for 4:12 minutes.
Granted the driver isn’t diverting eyes from the road for four minutes at a time, and many of those diversions are quick glances down at instruments. But even if the distractions are broken down into 2-second chunks (to look at the radio, for example, or finding the temperature dial to adjust it), it should be noted the vehicle driven at 100 km/h will cover over 55 metres in those two seconds (that’s longer than half a football field), and register seven km of total inattentiveness, on average, over the 1-hour highway run.
According to 2016 British statistics, of the 1,445 fatal crashes on the island, 437 were attributed by police investigators as “failure to look” or distractions such as mobile phone use or happenings outside the vehicle.
The reason for the study is in promotion for Peugeot’s new i-Cockpit system (which features a smaller steering wheel and raised instrument cluster) the company claims boosts that attention on the road to 95%, which means inattentiveness drops to three minutes per 1-hour trip, or five km cumulative inattentiveness.
The French auto-maker studied multiple drivers on 25 identical 9.7-km trips, with the drivers wearing special glasses — Tobii Pro Glasses 2, which have six small cameras that map where the eye is looking every 0.05 seconds — which track where their eyes are looking while driving a selection of compact crossovers.
“We all know the dangers of taking your eyes off the road, whether to adjust the radio or the temperature in the car,” concluded David Peel, Peugeot’s UK Managing Director. “When you add the continued distraction of mobile phones, talking to passengers, something catching your eye outside the car and even eating, or drinking a coffee, it’s easy to see how the average driver could be in control of a car yet not be looking at the road.”