Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Seminar on the Impact of Distracted Driving and Sleepiness on Road Safety


The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 54 member countries. It acts as a strategic think thank with the objective of helping shape the transport policy agenda. Road safety is a core concern.

The Seminar addressed two rising concerns which are the impact of distracted driving and sleepiness on road safety.

The use of mobile and on-board information and communications technology in vehicles raises serious concerns about their impact on driving performance in relation to road safety. They also impact the travel behaviour of non-motorised road users (cyclists and pedestrians). The rise in the use of such devices has been rapid and relatively recent. Policy responses differ between jurisdictions and recent developments make this is a good time to compare policies and take stock of the research on distraction and its impact on road safety.

Fatigue or sleepiness is also a growing concern in several ITF countries and often ranked as a major contributing factor in fatal and injury crashes. As distraction, it also poses problems for observation, monitoring and reporting.

Both sources of impairment were examined at the seminar.

The Seminar involved key stakeholders, including researchers, policy advisors, industry, police, user associations to highlight latest knowledge on these emerging road safety issues, and discuss forthcoming developments in regulation, vehicle and IT technology that have an impact on distraction and fatigue.

The Seminar was held during the Transport Research Arena (TRA), which is the major European Conference for Transportation researchers.

Objectives and focus

The objectives of the Seminar were to discuss latest research work in ITF countries to better understand the impact of distraction and fatigue on driving performance and road safety and identify measures that can help in the short and longer term in mitigating the effects on crash occurrence.

In particular, the Seminar examined the following questions:

  • How to define and measure distracted driving and fatigue?
  • How to estimate the prevalence of distraction and fatigue while driving?
  • What are the effects of distraction and fatigue on driving performance and crash occurrence?
  • What are the characteristics of distracted drivers (gender, age, location ….) and fatigued drivers?
  • How to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of on-board and mobile technologies that distract but also provide services that relieve stress and avoid other sources of distraction?
  • What are the most effective measures to combat distracted driving? Is regulation the only approach, is it always enforceable?
  • What are the most effective measures to combat fatigue? 

Share this page