Eyes on the Road: Detecting Phone Usage by Drivers Using On-Device Cameras


Using a phone while driving is distracting and dangerous. It increases the accident chances by 400%. Several techniques have been proposed in the past to detect driver distraction due to phone usage. However, such techniques usually require instrumenting the user or the car with custom hardware. While detecting phone usage in the car can be done by using the phone's GPS, it is harder to identify whether the phone is used by the driver or one of the passengers. In this paper, we present a lightweight, software-only solution that uses the phone's camera to observe the car's interior geometry to distinguish phone position and orientation. We then use this information to distinguish between driver and passenger phone use. We collected data in 16 different cars with 33 different users and achieved an overall accuracy of 94% when the phone is held in hand and 92.2% when the phone is docked (<=1sec. delay). With just a software upgrade, this work can enable smartphones to proactively adapt to the user's context in the car and and substantially reduce distracted driving incidents.


Rushil Khurana and Mayank Goel. 2020. Eyes on the Road: Detecting Phone Usage by Drivers Using On-Device Cameras. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–11. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.3376822