SWOV Catalogus


Driver inattention and driver distraction study.
C 25800 [electronic version only]
Virgina Crash Investigation Team
Richmond, VA, Virginia Commonwealth University, Transportation Safety Training Center, 2001, II + 41 p.; Special Report ; No. 15

Samenvatting This Special Report, entitled "Driver Inattention and Driver Distraction Study" examines Virginia crash data involving the primary cause of traffic crashes: driver error. It features various aspects of driver distraction and cites the relative risk of drivers not devoting their full attention to their driving task. An overview of crash statistics is included, using data from calendar years 1998 through 2000, plus the first six months of 2001. The report provides case study examinations of six crashes that occurred in the Commonwealth during 2001 and a table of the 30 crashes brought to the attention of the Crash Investigation Team by law enforcement agencies. National information citing the dangers and risks associated with driver distraction, especially cell phone use, is discussed. This Special Report clearly demonstrates the need for motorists to constantly devote their full attention to their driving task. While it may be common for drivers to simultaneously do other things while they are operating a vehicle, some non-driving operations are more dangerous than others and create a higher risk for an incident occurring. The purpose of this report is to increase awareness on the part of Virginia drivers to the importance of driving with more vigilance and attentiveness. One impetus for the development of this study was concern over the effects of cellular phone use while driving. Parts of the report address safety risks associated with this type of distraction. Related information is included in the case studies and tables. Under present conditions, the true numbers and severity of highway crashes caused by driver distraction is underreported. This is primarily due to the inadequacy of the current crash report form and consequently law enforcement officers not including the needed data on the form. The findings in this Special Report suggest that further research and analysis are needed before possible remedial changes, such as legislative action, can be made. In the interim, however, it is recommended that the uniform police crash report be changed to capture specific driver distraction information. Also, law enforcement officers, when they strongly suspect driver distraction caused a crash, are encouraged to enter the specific distraction on the report for recording purposes. (Author/publisher)
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