A NEW study on drivers across Australia has found they are distracted every 96 seconds by something other than the road in front of them.

Instead of concentrating on the road, drivers were filmed suddenly braking, swerving into the next lane, forgetting to indicate when they wanted to turn and they also failed to yield to a pedestrian.

Many of the near-accidents were caused by drivers who were using their mobile phones to text and talk.

Other drivers were too busy with their own personal hygiene or they were seen reaching for an object far away from them in the car.

The research, conducted by Dr Kristie Young, a senior fellow with Monash University's Accident Research Centre (MUARC), is part of the first study from the $5 million Australian Naturalistic Driving Study (ANDS).

 

It involved placing four cameras and sensors in 346 cars owned by 379 NSW and Victorian drivers.

Both male and female drivers from city and regional areas were involved of all ages.

They did a total of 194,961 trips that clocked up more than 1.95 million kilometres.

Under the study, 36 per cent of distractions involving adjusting a seatbelt or pressing a button that took five seconds or less.

Personal hygiene formed seven per cent of tasks, and took more than a minute each time. The data also picked up when drivers chatted to passengers and pets.

 

Texting and talking can lead to serious accidents. Picture: Supplied
Texting and talking can lead to serious accidents. Picture: Supplied

 

Just five per cent of drivers involved were concentrated on the road the whole time.

Reaching for an object formed nearly eight per cent of distractions, and texting increased the driver's crash risk by six times.

Dr Young said that drivers tended to be more distracted when stopped at the traffic lights, but were still preoccupied when they got the green light.

ANDS is a project by MUARC, Transport and Road Safety Research at UNSW, the University of Adelaide's Centre for Automotive Safety Research and Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland.

It is also being supported by insurers and Transport for NSW.

The results of the study could change cars, and traffic conditions in the future to try and keep drivers safe and less distracted.

Women put on makeup in the car. Picture: Supplied
Women put on makeup in the car. Picture: Supplied