Conflicts of interest: Driving experience, and time-sharing during in-car tasks on roads of different width

  • Published: 1998
  • Authors: A.S. Wikman, T. Nieminen, and H. Summala
  • Date Added: 07 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 07 Feb 2013
  • Format: doc


To present the findings of a simulator study quantifying the effects of billboards on driver attention, mental workload and performance in urban, motorway and rural environments.


The intention of this study was to determine the effects of roadside advertising (billboards) on driver attention and performance in different road environments. The Brunel University Driving Simulator (BUDS) was used to create driving scenarios for urban, rural, and motorway conditions. Participants drove each of these routes both with and without billboards. Driver attention was assessed in a number of ways.

Key Findings:

  • Conservative estimates putting external distractors responsible for up to 10 per cent of all road traffic RTIs.

  • In a 2005 UK survey by Privilege Insurance, over a quarter of drivers admitted losing concentration due to roadside adverts, with 41 per cent of those reporting that they had been distracted for up to 5 seconds.

  • Findings indicate that more RTIs occurred in the presence of billboards.

  • Evidence from this study suggests that roadside advertising can adversely influence driver attention, increasing visual demand. The presence of billboards increased overall number of eye fixations, although not total duration of glances, suggesting a change in drivers’ visual attention strategies towards more but shorter glances.


Advertising signs, distraction, RTIs, safety


Robust academic document.