An Observational Evaluation of Safety and Operations Resulting from Driver Distraction

Distracted driving is estimated to contribute to over 22 percent of all crashes and near-crashes and is directly involved in the deaths of nearly 6,000 individuals each year. This total will only get worse as in-vehicle technologies proliferate. The number of cell phone subscribers has increased dramatically between 2007 and 2012, from 243.4 million to 321.7 million people; this widespread use of cell phones affects the society in many ways. Although the dangers of using handheld devices while driving are clear, this vast problem continues. A quick phone call or a glance at the screen may seem innocent, but it has become a serious problem that reduces both the safety and operational efficiency along United States (US) roadways. The proposed program of research will directly address all aspects of driver distraction. The project is proposing to implement an innovative and comprehensive evaluation that improves the understanding of the safety and operational aspects associated with driver distraction. Specifically, the project is proposing to (1) develop and implement a mobile observation study design of driver distraction variables across New England; the proposed observation study will develop and introduce a new methodology for distraction data collection (using probe vehicles) that allows for the combination of traditional observation variables and unique in situ (i.e., behavior) variables; (2) complete an analysis of directly observed field data with existing crash and citation data to determine if those populations observed to be distracted in the field are consistent with those reported as distracted in crashes and citations; and (3) evaluate the effects of driver distraction on operational elements at signalized intersections in an attempt to quantify the costs of driver distraction on operational efficiency (i.e., intersection capacity) The proposed research will significantly expand upon the existing literature and directly improve the ability to develop targeted countermeasures that mitigate the negative safety and operations impacts of driver distraction.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Contract to a Performing Organization has not yet been awarded.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $199908.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Start Date: 20120602
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160131
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39220

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556873
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC01, UMAR24-21B
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 13 2015 1:00AM