Busy Brain Syndrome and Driver Distraction

By Ronak Shah

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease across Australia and New Zealand, it is important that we encourage workers across the country to limit distractions and reduce risk on the road. 

We are re-gaining normality and are now seeing more and more cars on the road with schools and workplaces re-opening. This also means that we potentially have more weighing on our minds – work stresses, picking up the kids from school or even reconnecting with family and friends. This ‘information overload’ is referring to as Busy Brain Syndrome and has been directly linked as a root cause of driver distraction.

Busy Brain Syndrome

Busy Brain Syndrome is a breakdown in the brains capacity to process information. With rapid changes in our lifestyle over recent years, we now have an overabundance of stimulus as a result of rapid advancements in technology. Our brains are overloaded even though we may not be conscious of it. 

Whether we are thinking about emails, text messages, social media, news updates or work matters, there becomes a point where our brain becomes full of information and that is where we lose focus. This ‘technology overload’ decimates our capacity to pay attention which is where the increased risk occurs for drivers. 

Our brains are designed to keep us alive as a survival mechanism by focusing on one thing at a time. By using our phones, fiddling with in-vehicle technology or trying to control children in the backseat we are taking our attention away from keeping ourselves safe and ultimately increasing the risk of an accident.


Are you guilty of pulling into the driveway and then realising you have no memory of the drive or some portion of the drive at least? This is a concept referred to as ‘ auto-pilot driving ’ and can be considered as one of the consequences of Busy Brain Syndrome. 

When we are so familiar with how to drive and are travelling in ‘easy’ conditions, our minds can start to shift away from the primary task at hand. When this focus shifts, we are putting ourselves, other passengers and other drivers at risk without realising it.

Texting and Driving 

Texting and driving is one example of a distraction that greatly increases the risk of an accident. When drivers text and drive, they are over 6 times more likely to be involved in an incident and texting is said to be more likely to cause a fatality on the road compared to drink driving. Texting may seem like a simple and easy task that we can manage while driving but small actions can have fatal consequences. 

With technology playing such an important role in our daily lives and having multiple thoughts entering our mind at the one time, so many drivers are tempted to send a text, take a call or check their phone while driving despite the risks.

Combating Distractions

At Corporate Driver Training Australia , we teach your staff how to be low-risk drivers. ‘Distractions’ form a large component of our courses with a heavy focus on the dangers of mobile phone usage and how to avoid mobile phone-related accidents. We address auto-pilot driving and educate workers on the importance of being aware of these issues as well as strategies to improve driver behaviour in the long term. Driving presents the greatest risk for employees so it is important that we are able to not only educate but also create a behaviour change as we combat important issues of distractions. To learn more about Corporate Driver Training Courses, click here .

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