Do LED-advertising signs affect driver attention?

by Lene Herrstedt, Poul Greibe, Puk Kristine Andersson and Belinda la Cour Lund


5th International Conference on Driver Distraction and Inattention

With the purpose of investigating how LED-advertising signs (LED) affect drivers’ attention compared to static signs and other kinds of distractors along roads, a new Danish empirical on-road study has been carried out by using an instrumented car equipped with a camera system to monitor eye movements. Speed behaviour was recorded by use of GPS and additionally a laser scanner was used for measurement of distances to vehicles ahead. In total, 16 different test drivers drove a test route making 228 drive pasts of different LED-advertising signs. The test drivers were not informed about the main purpose prior to the test drive. Eye track data verified whether the driver was glancing at the LED-advertising signs (the number of glances, glance duration and glance angles). Different algorithms for detection of driver distraction were used. Critical situations were identified and analysed in detail to uncover the identity of distractors. Driving in daylight were compared with driving in darkness.

Results showed that drivers’ visual attention was diverted by LED-advertising signs. In more than every 10th drive past visual distraction occurred, e.g. cumulative glances of more than 2 sec. within a 6 sec. period, when the driver looked at the LED-advertising. In 4 % of the drive pasts visual distraction occurred together with a “safety buffer” less than 0 sec. The safety buffer reflects the time available to respond to a sudden critical event requiring immediate action in order to avoid an accident.

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