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3 Seconds Behind the Wheel is a new documentary and podcast series that follows the lives of eight drivers over 6 months using in-car cameras and tracking technology to monitor the often-hidden behavior of distracted drivers. Why three seconds?  That’s how long it takes to drive across a football field, send a message or choose a song.

Produced by Boyd Productions, LLC. in partnership with Connecticut Public Television, producers gathered hundreds of hours of driving footage from subjects in Florida and Connecticut.  They ranged in age from 18 to 65 years old.  MIT, Cambridge Mobile Telematics, Safety Track and the University of Connecticut all helped with the project by providing monitoring equipment, data storage, expert analysis and plain, old fashioned advice.

Jennifer Boyd, Producer, Director and Writer said, “while many of these driver’s habits will shock you, this is a very honest and intimate look at human behavior.”

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“One of the amazing things about the study is to be able to take that camera that they quickly forget about, and be in a private space that is typically reserved for just the driver,” said Eric Jackson, Director, Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center at the University of Connecticut. “You’re in kind of a private space that is typically reserved for just the driver, and now you get to observe a lot of these things that are going on, that we all do. But you don’t think about it until you start watching the videos and you’re like… ‘I do that.’”

“We don’t have a distraction epidemic; we really have an attention epidemic,” noted Bryan Reimer, Research Scientist, MIT. “I think that we really need to begin asking the question: What is the distraction? Could it be that the act of driving has become the distraction from the communication and infotainment world that we all live in?”

“It is very interesting to see that there’s people doing a lot of things in their cars besides driving,” added Jackson. “It’s almost as if driving has become too boring of a task. We can’t just drive anymore.”

In addition to following drivers, 3 Seconds Behind the Wheel gives audiences a firsthand look at emerging technologies that could one day offer solutions to rising crash statistics. The documentary features research being done at Google with driving simulators to help develop next-generation in-car infotainment systems, and explores how a Swedish company is developing technology that could one day allow cars to understand our feelings and make driving decisions based on our emotions.

3 Seconds Behind the Wheel will be released nationally through American public television in October 2018. You can purchase a copy in advance through this website.

If you’re in Connecticut on June 7, come to a screening of the doc.  Click here for details.