research >Distracted driving
"Observational Study of Cell Phone and Texting Use Among California Drivers 2012 and Comparison with 2011 Data" 13-4877
Jill F. Cooper, David R. Ragland, SafeTREC, University of California, Berkeley; Katrin Ewald, Lisa Wasserman, Ewald & Wasserman Research Consultant, LLC; Christopher J. Murphy, California Office of Traffic Safety
This methodological report describes survey research and data collection methods employed for the second Observational Survey of Cell Phone and Texting Use among California Drivers study. This study was conducted by Ewald & Wasserman Research Consultants (E&W) on behalf of the California Office of Traffic Safety and the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at University of California at Berkeley. The survey’s goal was to obtain a statewide statistically representative observational sample of California’s cell phone use behaviors, focusing on cell phone use. Vehicle drivers were observed at controlled intersections, such as traffic lights and stop signs, using a protocol similar to the National Occupancy Protection Use Study methodology published by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The sample frame included a total of 5,664 vehicle observations from 129 sites. The total percentage of distracted driving by electronic devices (holding a phone to the ear, manipulating a hand-held electronic device while driving, or talking on a hand-held device) observed increased to 6.2% in 2012 from 4.2% in 2011. California’s baseline level of cell phone use and driving will be a critical metric over the years as traffic safety stakeholders mobilize to conduct high visibility enforcement campaigns, explore new policies, expand educational programs, and engineer countermeasures to increase safety on the roads.
Session 543 Driver Distraction, Driver State, and Vehicle Safety Systems
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:45AM - 12:30PM
Marriott, Salon 2
SafeTREC Cell Phone Crash Analysis Receives Widespread Coverage(links to results of Google news alert)
A sampling of the California and national media coverage of findings by SafeTREC on the effectiveness of California's hand-held cell phone ban for drivers.
Phone ban saves lives, one ticket at a time- SF Chronicle
California's phone ban: Maybe not such a bad idea after all - Los Angeles Times
News from OTS: Cell Phone Distracted Driving Deaths Down Since Laws Enacted Drivers Becoming Aware of Dangers and Penalties
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) today announced deaths due to hand-held cell phone use by drivers have dropped since California enacted a ban on hand-held cell phone use while driving in July, 2008. The analysis, conducted by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at the University of California, Berkeley, showed that, when looking at state crash records two years before and two years after the hand-held ban went into effect, overall traffic deaths declined 22 percent while hand-held cell phone driver deaths went down 47 percent. Similar results were shown for hands-free cell phone use as well as injuries in both categories.—California Office of Traffic Safety
Surveys of attitudes and behaviors: SafeTREC conducted California's first statewide traffic safety survey of California residents to measure the public's perception of traffic safety in fall 2010. Distracted driving was the number two concern of respondents, after speeding and aggressive driving. Respondents ranked talking and texting on cell phones as the top distractions that concerned them. Cell-phone conversations (hand-held or hands-free) were cited as the most serious distraction. Read complete results of the Fall 2010 traffic safety survey here and the press release by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), which contracted with SafeTREC for the survey.
SafeTREC conducted the first state-level observational survey of drivers' cell phone use, in March 2011 under contract with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Over the course of more than 5,400 observations, researchers found that nine percent of drivers either talked or texted on cell phones, both hands-free and hand-held. These findings are similar to the results of a 2009 national survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study results were officially released by OTS on April 20, 2011.
Trend study of injuries/fatalities before/after implementation of the Hands Free law Under a contract with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), SafeTREC is conducting analyses of distracted driving-related injuries and fatalities over a five-year time period spanning implementation of the California "Hands Free" law in July 2008. In this analysis researchers are looking at overall distracted driving crashes as well as crashes related to hand held and hands free activities.
Data analyses on distracted driving for the Strategic Highway Safety Plan process The California Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) is a federally mandated process for developing and implementing traffic safety programs in California. Since 2005 SafeTREC has had a contract to be the primary data provider to this process. In this role SafeTREC has provided extensive data related to a number of different areas, including an extensive series of analyses related to distracted driving.
Resources and Other Links
Distraction.gov. Statistics and Facts About Distracted Driving.
Governors Highway Safety Association Cell Phone Laws Web site.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Status Report, May 2001.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: Highway Loss Data Institute. Cell phone laws.
International Conference on Distracted Driving. 2005. International Conference on Distracted Driving: Summary of Proceedings and Recommendations.
Jacobsen D et al. Reducing Distracted Driving – Regulation and Education to Reduce Traffic Injuries and Fatalities. JAMA. April 14, 2010. (303)14, 1419-1420.
Just, M.A., Keller, T.A., Cynkar, J. 2008. A decrease in brain activation associated with driving when listening to someone speak. Brain Research 1205: 70-80.
Maples W.C., DeRosier W., Hoenes R., Bendure R,. Moore S. 2008. The effects of cell phone use on peripheral vision. Optometry 79 (1): 36-42.
McCartt A.T., et al. 2010 Long-term effects of handheld cell phone laws on driver handheld cell phone use. Traffic Injury Prevention, 11 (2):133-141.
McCartt AT et al. Effects of Washington, D.C. law on drivers' hand-held cell phone use. Traffic Inj Prev. 2006 Mar 7(1):1-5.
McCartt AT et al. Longer term effects of Washington D.C. Law on Drivers Hand Held Cell Phone Use. Traffic Inj Prev. 2007 Jun 8(2):199-204.
Confusion over California's hands-free cellphone law When the state's hands-free cellphone law was enacted three years ago, the rules seemed so simple. Holding a phone in your hand to make a call would be illegal. Few ifs, buts or maybes. Then came a law against texting. Then came an explosion of phones that double as GPS devices, cameras, music players, voice recorders and email dispensers. And today, amid an unprecedented crackdown this month on cellphone scofflaws, what's legal and what's not has motorists and even some cops scratching their heads.—Mercury News
Nearly 10% of California Drivers Use a Mobile Phone While Driving In the first-ever observational survey of cell phone use by drivers within a state, California drivers are talking and texting at a combined rate of at least nine percent, representing hundreds of thousands of drivers at any given time. The statewide survey, conducted during March, was commissioned by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).
Survey: About 9.8% of SoCal drivers still text, call at the wheel Southern Californians are slightly worse that the rest of the nation when it comes to talking on a telephone or texting while driving, according to a survey released Wednesday by the state Office of Traffic Safety. A federal study in 2009 showed that about 9 percent of the nation's drivers talked or texted on a cell phone while driving.—Los Angeles Daily News
State Findings On Driver Texting, Cell Phone Use Released 9.8 Percent Of Southern Californians Still Text, Talk On Cell Phone While Driving, Survey Says Southern Californians are only slightly worse that the rest of the nation when it comes to talking on a telephone or texting while driving, according to a survey released Wednesday by the state Office of Traffic Safety.—10news KGTV San Diego
Survey: About 9.8% of SoCal drivers still text, call at the wheel Southern Californians are slightly worse that the rest of the nation when it comes to talking on a telephone or texting while driving, according to a survey released Wednesday by the state Office of Traffic Safety.—Los Angeles Daily News
Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers If you are one of those drivers who still talks or texts while driving, you might want to think again, especially this month. Thousands of tickets have been written in California over the past couple of weeks. This is national distracted driving awareness month, and as part of it, CHP and law enforcement around the state are cracking down. Source: Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers | NBC San Diego
Distracted Driving: How bad are cell phones or texting behind the wheel? There are probably few people who are surprised to hear cellphones and driving don't mix -- but do you believe it's true for you? Maybe not. Some safety advocates say we are in a national state of denial about the dangers posed by using a cellphone behind the wheel. According to distracted-driving expert David Strayer, Ph.D., a cellphone might as well be a bottle of beer. "What we're seeing in terms of the crash risk when you're texting or talking on the phone is that [it] is comparable to driving when you're drunk at a .08 blood alcohol level," he said.—ABC News
Ford's Future: Voice-Activated Gadgets in Electric Cars Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel is Ford's mantra as it brings its voice-activated Sync infotainment system to Europe and responds to polemics about the dangers of distracted driving. CEO Alan Mulally kept repeating the mantra this week as Ford finally brought Sync to Europe. It only took three years. Sync has been wildly successful in the new world since appearing in 2007, and Ford expects to sell 2 million Sync'd vehicles in the old continent by 2015. Regulators are casting increasingly nervous glances at all the gadgets in our vehicles, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood among others is making distracted driving a pet issue. Mulally, who delivered the keynote at the CeBIT tech show here, told us Ford wants to be part of the solution, not the problem. (Wired)
Have You Driven a Smartphone Lately? I'm barreling along a rural Michigan highway at 75 miles per hour in a gray Ford Taurus X when I glance down to check a number on a screen. It can't be more than two seconds, but when I look back up, I'm inches from plowing into a huge green truck. Panicked, I slam on the brakes. Even though I'm in Virttex, the Ford simulator that uses virtual reality to give you the eerily real sensation that you're flying down the highway past cars and barns, I still feel shaken. (Maureen Dowd, New York Times)
Whirling Dervish Drivers One night several years ago, my mom slipped and broke a bone in her neck. I stayed late at the hospital with her. Driving home on a mostly deserted road, I checked my cellphone messages. I didn't notice either the red light coming up or the car stopped at the light. I banged into the back of it, and even though the damage was minor, it was a scary moment. I admitted that I was upset and distracted, took the blame and swore to myself I'd never use a cellphone in a car again. But, of course, I did. D.C. police will pull you over if they see you using a cellphone that you're holding up to your ear, but not if you're hands-free. (Maureen Dowd, New York Times