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Investigating the Impact of In-Car Communication on Law Enforcement Officer Patrol Performance in an Advanced Driving Simulator, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2012
59 pages
Using a driving simulator, this project assessed law enforcement officers' driving, visual attention, and situation awareness while driving under varying conditions, so as to determine the impact of information presentation format on patrol performance; it also examined how the increasing number of in-vehicle technologies may provide additional officer support and reduce information overload.
The findings indicate that when 10-codes are paired with a display that echoes communication with dispatch or when natural language is used without such a display, accuracy on a test of situation awareness was similar to a baseline condition that involved no distraction. This suggests that law enforcement agencies should be informed about how certain technologies and practices interact. The results of this study do not favor one type of communication over another when officers are provided with technological that facilitates supportive interpretation of the 10-code system; however, there may be a slight advantage to using natural language in communication rather than the more memory-intensive 10-codes. This recommendation requires further study before being implemented. For this study, 14 municipal law enforcement officers were recruited to perform patrol tasks using a driving simulator under general patrol conditions: baseline patrol driving without verbal or visual information from a dispatcher while driving, patrol driving with radio calls, and patrol driving with radio calls and an in-car data terminal. Radio calls were presented to officers in both 10-codes (e.g.,, 10-20 = location) commonly used by police agencies or in a more natural language structure (e.g., "What is your location?"). The intent was to compare the impact of type of transmission on officers' driving, visual attention, and situation awareness. 9 figures, 45 references, and appended study instruments

Date Published: October 1, 2012