SWOV Catalogus


Driver distraction and hands-free texting while driving.
20130824 ST [electronic version only]
Mayhew, D. Robertson, R.D. Brown, S. & Vanlaar, W.G.M.
Ottawa, Ontario, Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada TIRF, 2013, 10 p., 89 ref.

Samenvatting Distracted driving has become a source of growing concern among governments, road safety researchers and the public in the past decade. This is due, in part, to concern that distracted driving contributes to increased crash risk, and, in part because of the link that has been established between at least some types of distractions and increased crash risk. These issues have been well documented in the literature (Governors Highway Safety Association 2011; Hedlund 2006; NHTSA 2010b; Smiley 2005; Ranney 2008; Trombley 2010). In particular, research clearly demonstrates that texting while driving is an unsafe behaviour because texting is a significant source of distraction. This behaviour is especially problematic for teen drivers who are more often attracted to and more readily adopt new communication technologies (Lee et al. 2011). This is because, not only are teens more inexperienced at driving, but, additionally, their brains are not fully developed which makes them more susceptible to distractions and poor judgment (Smiley et al. 2008; Trombley 2010).The increased relative risk of teen and young drivers being involved in a distraction-related collision can be attributed to behaviour and attitudes among this age group. Recently, a nationally representative survey of distracted driving attitudes and behaviour found that drivers under 25 are far more likely than older drivers to send text messages or emails while driving. Among 16-25 year old respondents, approximately 70% admitted to sending text messages or emails while driving compared to 14% of all respondents (Schroeder et al. 2013). And, while almost all drivers believe that sending text messages while driving is very unsafe, young passengers are more reluctant than older passengers to speak up if the driver is texting behind the wheel (NHTSA 2012). The crash risk associated with hands-free texting while driving is not as well understood because in-car voice-to-text technology is relatively new, and few studies investigating this specific issue have been completed to date. What is known, however, supports the contention that hands-free texting while driving poses significant distraction, and consequently, unacceptable crash risk (Tijerina 2008). To put this traffic safety issue and public health concern into perspective, this paper draws upon existing research in order to share insight into key facets of distracted driving and the implications for texting while driving behaviour among young drivers. (Author/publisher)
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