DRIVERS take their eyes off the road for more than two miles in a one hour journey while driving in urban traffic, according to new eye-tracking research conducted by Peugeot.
The French car manufacturer studied multiple drivers undertaking 25 identical six-mile journeys, using special glasses worn by the drivers to analyse exactly where their eyes looked while driving a selection of compact SUV models.
The results showed that, on average drivers have their eyes off the road seven per cent of the time. During a one hour drive at 30mph, that equates to drivers travelling more than 3,350 metres without looking at the road - or the length of almost 32 football pitches.
Peugeot commissioned the study to highlight its innovative i-Cockpit system which has a smaller steering wheel and raised instrument panel to promote less eye movement during driving.
In 2016, out of 1,445 fatal crashes in Britain that resulted in one or more deaths, the police recorded 397 incidences of the contributory factor of "failure to look" and a further 140 incidences of the contributory factors of driver in-vehicle distractions, distractions outside the vehicle, and phone use.
In the Peugeot 3008 SUV which is fitted with the i-Cockpit as standard, the amount of time drivers had their eyes on the road improved from 93 per cent to 95 per cent.
The positioning of the speedometer in the eye line of the driver also meant that drivers of the all-new 3008 SUV checked their speed three times more often than in comparable SUVs.
The testing was undertaken using Tobii Pro Glasses 2, which have six small cameras that specifically map where the retina is looking every 0.05 seconds. The driving route was carried out on a variety of roads, which incorporated a range of speed limits and road types.
Peugeot UK managing director, David Peel, said: "We all know the dangers of taking your eyes off the road, whether to adjust the radio or the temperature in the car. When you add the continued distraction of mobile phones, talking to passengers, something catching your eye outside the car and even eating or drinking a coffee, it's easy to see how the average driver could be in control of a car yet not be looking at the road for over 3,350 metres in a one hour journey.
"As the data shows, the i-Cockpit system helps reduce the need for drivers to look away from the road, and by default enhance driving safety. Having all the critical information within their field of vision enables more information to be read easily and quickly. Importantly though, these findings highlight that we - the drivers - still need to play our part in road safety."
The i-Cockpit is also available on the all-new Peugeot 5008 SUV, which went on sale at the beginning of 2018.