Effect of police mobile computer terminal interface design on officer driving distraction
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Several crash reports have identified in-vehicle distraction to be a primary cause of emergency vehicle crashes especially in law enforcement. Furthermore, studies have found that mobile computer terminals (MCTs) are the most frequently used in-vehicle technology for police officers. Twenty police officers participated in a driving simulator-based assessment of visual behavior, performance, workload and situation awareness with current and enhanced MCT interface designs. In general, results revealed MCT use while driving to decrease officer visual attention to the roadway, but usability improvements can reduce the level of visual distraction and secondary-task completion time. Results also suggest that use of MCTs while driving significantly reduces perceived level of driving environment awareness for police officers and increases cognitive workload. These findings may be useful for MCT manufacturers in improving interface designs to increase police officer and civilian safety.
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