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Distracted Driving


Examine the nature and scope of the problem associated with distracted driving ... Multitasking while driving results in less efficient visual search,slower ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving
  • Review of Current Needs, Efforts and Potential

Prepared By
  • David Anderson, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
  • Blakely Pomietto, M.P.H.
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Amr Abdalla, Ph.D.
  • Research and Evaluation Director
  • Noel Goldberg, M.S.
  • Program Manager

Vonnie Clement, Ph.D Research Associate Geor
ge Mason University Center for the Advancement of
Public Health Department of Health, Fitness Re
creation Resources Graduate School of Education
Fairfax, VA 22030
  • Examine the nature and scope of the problem
    associated with distracted driving
  • To examine current data, practices, standards,
    attitudes, and related issues in Virginia and
    nationwide regarding distracted driving
  • To identify specific strategies that might be
    helpful for consideration in Virginia

  • Recent years have seen new challenges in the
    driving task roadways are more crowded, time has
    seemingly become more precious, and a host of new
    technologies are now available for use in
    automobiles. One technology particularly
    surrounded by debate is the cell phone.

  • 10 distinct approaches to gather information
  • Literature Review
  • Curriculum and Product Review
  • State Leader Interviews
  • Key Informant Interviews
  • National Survey

  • Intercept Interviews
  • Virginia Data and Approaches
  • Self-Assessment and Behavioral Monitoring
  • Focus Groups
  • Stakeholder Discussion

In the Literature
  • Rigorous, empirical research into the issue of
    distracted driving is greatly lacking, and
    plagued with limitations.
  • In research that is available, the language is
    often different and the operational definitions
    of key terms vary from one study to the next.

In the Literature
  • New technology telematics and In-Vehicle
    Information Systems (IVIS) has begun to
    infiltrate the context of driving.
  • In order to perceive, assimilate, interpret,
    predict, and respond to the driving environment,
    a driver must have his/her full range of
    attentional resources from which to draw.

In the Literature
  • Multitasking results in multiple tasks competing
    for a drivers attentional resources.
  • Multitasking while driving results in less
    efficient visual search,slower reaction times,
    and fewer and shorter eye fixations.

In the Literature
  • Recarte Nunes, 2000
  • When cognitively complex tasks are performed
    while driving, the visual inspection window
    decreases between 25-40 horizontally, and 40-60
  • Just, et al., 2001
  • Less cortical brain tissue is able to respond
    when 2 cognitively complex tasks are performed
    simultaneously (as compared to a single task)
  • Suggests a natural/biological limit on attention?

In the Literature
  • Cell phone research lacks consensus and is
    inconclusive. Research examines different angles
    and pieces of the problem, but no complete
  • Studies suggest that hands-free and hand-held
    cellular phones are equally as risky, and that
    the magnitude of risk may not be as great as has
    been portrayed.

In the Literature
  • Findings and Recommendations

Theme 1 Research
  • Findings
  • Terminology is inconsistent
  • Research to this point lacks naturalistic
    research, rigorous experimental design and
  • Limited practicality or compilations of best
  • The extent of the distracted driving problem is
    not clearly defined, validated, or determined

Theme 1 Research
  • Findings (contd)
  • Increase in attention to data collection
  • It is not clear how specific behaviors affect
    driving capacities differently in magnitude or
  • Research is inconclusive regarding the role of
    cell phones in automobile crashes, whether
    hand-held or hands-free devices

Theme 1 Research
  • Recommendations
  • Concerted efforts should be undertaken to clearly
    define distracted driving
  • Clearly defined research studies are needed to
    define, validate and determine the extent of
    distracted driving
  • Research and evaluation studies to be performed
    regarding the role of information technology
    devices with distracted driving should be
    conducted in real-life conditions

Theme 1 Research
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Research and evaluation efforts should
    incorporate existing sources of information
  • A range of personnel who have regular access to
    the target audiences should be utilized to
    collect data
  • Research and evaluation documentation should
    attend to the range of individual variabilities
    regarding multitasking and its impact on
    distracted driving

Theme 2 Education/ Awareness/Training
  • Findings
  • Driver education efforts are not attending well
    to distracted driving issues
  • The general public is not aware of the magnitude
    of the impact of distractions with their driving,
    including actions and consequences, as well as
    proactive and reactive considerations
  • Relatively little skills training exists
    regarding safe multitasking

Theme 2 Education/ Awareness/Training
  • Findings (contd)
  • Current education and awareness efforts lack
    substance and direction
  • Few resources (i.e. products and curricula) exist
    to assist with addressing distracted driving
  • The role that cell phones play with distracted
    driving is the primary focus of media and other
    coverage of distracted driving

Theme 2 Education/ Awareness/Training
  • Recommendations
  • The general public should be educated about
    distracted driving issues through public
    awareness campaigns and similarly appropriate
  • With any awareness or training efforts, attention
    should be paid to factors such as perceived
    severity and perceived susceptibility

Theme 2 Education/ Awareness/Training
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Educational approaches should include skills
    training about appropriate and safe multitasking
  • Driver education programs, both for novice
    drivers and with driver improvement programs,
    should incorporate significant attention to
    distracted driving issues

Theme 2 Education/ Awareness/Training
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Driver improvement programs should be encouraged
    for the general driving public, with attention to
    possible incentives for involvement
  • More employers should identify ways in which they
    can be involved in addressing distracted driving
  • The media should be better engaged to help
    deliver a comprehensive message on distracted

Theme 2 Education/ Awareness/Training
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Young children should be educated on distracted
    driving issues so that they can serve as a
    resource for their parents
  • Specific groups, such as police, judges, young
    drivers and older drivers, should be educated and
    trained about ways they can help address
    distracted driving

Theme 3 Legislation and Policy
  • Findings
  • There appears to be a tendency to seek
    legislative approaches to address distracted
  • Research does not support current specific
    legislative initiatives
  • Most proposed bills focus on cell phones and fail
    to pass

Theme 3 Legislation and Policy
  • Recommendations
  • Any legislation to be introduced should be
    supported by current research and evaluation
  • Better data needs to be collected regarding the
    specific role played by the use of cellular
    phones prior to introducing legislation
  • Legislative and policy approaches are appropriate
    to encourage education and data collection

Theme 3 Legislation and Policy
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Individual worksites should review ways in which
    they can promote greater attention to issues
    surrounding distracted driving
  • Prior to introducing new legislation, attempts
    should be made to determine whether current
    legislation is already sufficient
  • Multiple aspects of the driver licensing process
    should incorporate increased attention to
    distracted driving issues

Theme 4 Enforcement
  • Findings
  • Standards, reporting mechanisms, and training
    regarding crash investigation and reporting
    distracted driving (on summons and crash forms)
    do not meet emerging needs
  • Law enforcement personnel and highway safety
    personnel are not sure about how to document the
    issue of distracted driving

Theme 4 Enforcement
  • Findings (contd)
  • The fact that distracted driving is not an
    offense restricts the ability to cite
  • The fact that drivers are unwilling to admit
    their use of cell phones in crashes, and driving,
    impairs data collection and enforcement efforts
  • Current laws that encompass distracted driving
    need to be enforced
  • The role of judges can have a great influence on
    distracted driving issues

Theme 4 Enforcement
  • Recommendations
  • Crash reporting and citation forms should be
    changed to include attention to distracted
    driving behaviors
  • Enforcement efforts in other states should be

Theme 4 Enforcement
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Laws that currently exist which encompass
    distracted driving behaviors should be enforced
  • Law enforcement personnel should look for
    opportunities for teachable moments regarding
    distracted driving

Theme 5 Confounding and Social Factors
  • Findings
  • Driving conditions have changed significantly in
    recent years, including greater traffic density
    and more time spent driving
  • Conditions surrounding drivers have changed,
    including greater time constraints (busier
    schedules) and unclear lines between work and
    non-work time

Theme 5 Confounding and Social Factors
  • Findings (contd)
  • Significantly more technology is available for
    drivers, both inherent in the automobile and
    available for use in the automobile
  • Tension exists between issues of individual
    liberty and safety issues
  • Drivers do not want to acknowledge cell phone use
    and its role in automobile crashes, due to what
    they believe to be the politically correct and
    economically viable reasons

Theme 5 Confounding and Social Factors
  • Recommendations
  • Advocacy should be undertaken with the original
    automobile manufacturers and designers, and
    manufacturers of after-market in-vehicle
    technologies, to continue to identify ways of
    making their products safer

Theme 5 Confounding and Social Factors
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • All technology made available, whether installed
    in vehicles or potentially used in vehicles,
    should include information about how to use it
  • Public discussions and forums should be held to
    discuss distracted driving issues

Theme 6 Culture Lag
  • Findings
  • Technology, innovation and availability are
    moving much faster than cultural and social
    readiness (with resulting limited etiquette and
    standards for making safe use of the equipment)

Theme 6 Culture Lag
  • Findings (contd)
  • The discussions and dialog have not yet been
    framed appropriately
  • Current efforts are primarily reactive, rather
    than proactive, in nature

Theme 6 Culture Lag
  • Recommendations
  • Norms and acceptable etiquette for safe driving
    practices with regard to distractions should be
    developed based on what is learned through
    ongoing public discussions
  • Emerging technology should be anticipated as
    strategies identified for implementation
    regarding distracted driving are discussed and

Theme 6 Culture Lag
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Safety principles should be developed for
    in-vehicle information and communication systems
    to encompass current and potential future
  • A range of groups should be engaged at the local
    and state levels to discuss ways of assisting the
    various approaches to be consistent and

Theme 7 Lack of Clarity
  • Findings
  • There is ambiguity about the nature and extent of
    distracted driving among a range of groups and
    audiences (including traffic safety personnel,
    law enforcement personnel, the public, the media,
    legislative personnel, judges, the industry)

Theme 7 Lack of Clarity
  • Findings (contd)
  • Police and judges have different views about the
    need for more specific legislation
  • Different constituency groups have different
    perspectives regarding proactive and reactive

Theme 7 Lack of Clarity
  • Findings (contd)
  • There appears to be a lack of appropriate and
    inclusive dialogue among key constituency groups
    regarding distracted driving
  • When the issue of distracted driving is brought
    up, there appears to be a focus on cell phones

Theme 7 Lack of Clarity
  • Recommendations
  • Efforts that are both research-based and
    realistic should be encouraged to help reduce the
    ambiguity surrounding distracted driving
  • Ongoing communication should be maintained with a
    range of key constituencies about new research
    and new findings regarding distracted driving

Theme 7 Lack of Clarity
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Media vehicles should be encouraged to further
    develop messages about the breadth of distracted
    driving issues
  • A range of groups should be convened to discuss
    their varying perspectives about distracted

Theme 8 Leadership
  • Findings
  • Leadership at the national and state levels
    appears to be lacking
  • A widespread call for leadership at national and
    state levels exists
  • Nationally, traffic safety leaders state that
    distracted driving is not a priority,
    particularly when compared with other driving
    issues (such as DUI or aggressive driving)

Theme 8 Leadership
  • Findings (contd)
  • Leadership should include a multi-pronged
    solution, acknowledging that no one single
    approach is sufficient to address the problem

Theme 8 Leadership
  • Recommendations
  • Approaches attempting to address distracted
    driving should be shared among state and local
    leadership personnel
  • The definition of distracted driving, and of safe
    driving practices, should be made as clear as
  • Oversight and benchmarking should be maintained
    at the state level regarding distracted driving

Theme 8 Leadership
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Leadership personnel should acknowledge the need
    for a multi-pronged, consistent approach to
    address distracted driving
  • Leadership should be as informed and vocal as
    possible at the state and national levels
  • The media has an important leadership role in
    helping address distracted driving

Theme 9 Human Factors Behaviors
  • Findings
  • An upper limit on an individuals cognitive
    ability to multitask appears to exist, and seems
    to be related to the cognitive complexity of the
  • The relative relationship between primary and
    secondary tasks associated with driving is unclear

Theme 9 Human Factors Behaviors
  • Findings (contd)
  • Many drivers do not see driving as a complex
  • Many drivers do not see the need to improve or
    update their driving skills

Theme 9 Human Factors Behaviors
  • Recommendations
  • Drivers should be reached through the vehicles
    and mechanisms appropriate to their setting and
  • Individuals should be aided in understanding
    their own individual variability, within the
    context of safety considerations

Theme 9 Human Factors Behaviors
  • Recommendations (contd)
  • Those who implement information and awareness
    strategies should understand the range of needs
    of various audiences
  • A repertoire of packaged media will be helpful in
    presenting clear, consistent messages
  • Realistic and workable approaches should be

Distracted Driving
  • This report was distributed as Senate Document
    No. 14, Commonwealth of Virginia, Richmond,
  • The complete report can be found on-line at the
    CAPH web-site
  • www.caph.gmu.edu
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