Self-Regulation and Distraction

Experimental studies using driving simulators or instrumented vehicles have produced strikingly different estimates of driving impairment and crash risk than the correlation-based naturalistic studies of driving. However, an important limitation of both of these approaches is that the video equipment and instrumentation in the vehicle (or the driving simulator itself) may alter the behavior of the driver - the Heisenberg Principal, whereby the act of measurement may alter the behavior in question. Epidemiological studies have circumvented this problem by obtaining the cell phone records of drivers involved in a crash with significant property damage or a crash with an injury requiring hospitalization and determining the odds of a crash compared to a control period. The epidemiological studies' estimate of crash risk is comparable with the experimental research. More recently, an observational study of over 56,000 drivers coordinated by the Center for the Prevention of Distracted Driving at the University of Utah verified the detrimental effects of cellular communication on driving outside of the laboratory. This new observational research found that drivers using a cell phone were more than twice as likely to fail to make a legal stop at an intersection (i.e., the odds ratio of failing to stop for cell phone drivers was 2.21).


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $57670
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    P.O. Box 6050, Department 2880
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108-6050
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Utah

    Dept. of Psychology
    380 S 1530 E BEH S 502
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112
  • Principal Investigators:

    Sanbonmatsu, David

    Strayer, David

  • Start Date: 20140401
  • Expected Completion Date: 20190930
  • Actual Completion Date: 20190613
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
  • Source Data: MPC-467

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01532636
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC38
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 1 2014 1:14AM