Driver distraction – a modern car issue

Driver Distraction – Are modern vehicle’s information and control systems a help or a hinderance to driver distraction?

Modern vehicles have many ways to make information available to drivers, about the cars performance or entertainment options or even inputs to assist in the driving task.

But excessive information, or poorly communicated information and actions can be a distraction more than a help

Overdrive has but a team together to constructively look at how drivers are interacting with modern systems, and to encourage best practice in future vehicle designs.


Issues include:

Excessive information

Information that is not relevant to the immediate driving task

Information that is difficult to read – some numbers and symbols on vehicle screen is about the size of the bottom line of an eye chart

Symbols that are not commonly understood

Information that may encourage more aggressive driving or

Simple tasks that require multiple steps

This is all part of what is more formally called the human machine interface.

The team includes:

  •       David Brown

Engineer BE (hons)

Traffic engineering, transport planning, policy development and behaviour change

  •       Michael Regan, PhD

Emeritus Professor

Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation

University of NSW, Sydney

  •       Alan Evans

Former President of the NRMA

Managing Director of Dyno Dynamics

  •       Terry Thompson – OAM

President – Govt. Liaison council of Motor Clubs Inc.

  • Evan Jones

Former Safety Officer with the Railways Department

  • Ian Andersen

Research Fellow

We are also in conversation with an expert in the subject of ergonomics not just from physical aspects such as the setup of the driver’s seat but from a broader perspective of the emotional responses you can create for a regular or an infrequent driver of a vehicle.

If you have any comments you would like to make about your own experiences you can send a note to

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Im David Brown

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About David Brown 580 Articles
David’s boyhood passion for motor cars did not immediately lead to a professional role in the motor industry. A qualified Civil Engineer he specialised in traffic engineering and transport planning. What followed were various positions including being seconded to a government think-tank for the planning of transport firstly in Sydney and then for the whole of NSW. After working with the NRMA and as a consultant he moved to being an independent writer and commentator on the broader areas of transport and the more specific areas of the cars we drive. His half hour motoring program “Overdrive” has been described as an “informed, humorous and irreverent look at motoring and transport from Australia and overseas”. It is heard on 22 stations across Australia. He does weekly interviews with several ABC radio stations and is also heard on commercial radio in Sydney. David has written for metropolitan and regional newspapers and has presented regular segments on metropolitan and regional television stations. David is also a contributor for AnyAuto