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The Role of Road Engineering in Combatting Driver Distraction and Fatigue Road Safety Risks

Complete with results
STRIA Roadmaps
Connected and automated transport (CAT)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Driver distraction and fatigue are a problem because, as remarkable as our abilities are, we humans are fallible and our abilities have limitations. Driver distraction and fatigue incorporates elements of both limitations and fallibility. On top of our limitations and fallibilities, driving a vehicle is a surprisingly complex task that involves numerous elements.


The objective of the project is to find out the information about the influence of road engineering on drivers distraction and fatigue.


Funding Source
PIARC (World Road Association)


Road engineers have been empirically considering driver limitations for many years. Through engineering judgement and the testing of different configurations and treatments, an extensive array of standards and guidelines have been developed which seek to lower the risk of a crash occurring to an acceptable level and to enable the relevant road to serve its intended transport purpose. They have been cautious of items with the potential to take a driver's attention away from the road (e.g. advertising), have developed sight distance requirements based upon research into the human driver's ability to react and developed road marking and signage standards and guidelines that are increasingly intuitive to understand, visible, readable and spaced so as to give driver's every chance of understanding the message and responding appropriately to it. As a result, the majority of today's "well designed" road environments are rather slow and static in that they give the driver much surplus time to perform the driving tasks.

The review of the extensive literature related to driver distraction and fatigue, found an overwhelming focus on driver education and enforcement strategies seeking to encourage drivers to avoid being distracted or fatigued while driving. This might explain why it was also found that many jurisdictions have sought to combat driver distraction and fatigue by raising awareness of the risk, establishing rules (such as to prohibit texting) and imposing significant penalties to discourage non-compliance. However, it was also found that driver distraction and fatigue are distinct and each comprise a number of separate elements that can be detrimental to road safety in different ways.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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