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Smartphone Use While Driving

Person in VR headset

Virtual Reality User Experience as a Deterrent for Smartphone Use While Driving

David Morley's MFA Thesis

This study examines the effectiveness of virtual reality technology in creating an immersive user experience in which participants experience, first hand, the extreme negative consequences of smartphone use while driving. Research suggests that distracted driving caused by smartphones is related to smartphone addiction and causes fatalities. Twenty-two individuals participated in the virtual reality user experience (VRUE) in which they were asked to drive a virtual car using a Oculus Rift headset, LeapMotion hand tracking device, and a force feedback steering wheel and pedals. While driving in the simulation participants were asked to interact with a smartphone and after a period of time trying to manage both tasks a vehicle appears before them and they are involved in a head-on collision. Results indicated a strong sense of presence was felt by participants in the VRUE and a change or re-enforcement of the participant’s perception of the dangers of smartphone use while driving was observed. Participation in the VRUE positively effected the behavior of 70% the participants who reported an increase awareness of the dangers and/or using their smartphone less while driving.