Distracted Driving

Distraction.gov (March 2017) - The U.S. Government's official website for distracted driving.

State LawsDistraction.gov - The Department of Transportation's most current compilation of state laws related to distracted driving.

Research, Distraction.gov - Front page for research regarding distracted driving.

Facts and StatisticsDistraction.gov - Front page for facts and statistics regarding distracted driving.

Distracted Driving, Governors Highway Safety Association (March 2017). This page gives an overview of the distracted driving laws from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories.

Traffic Safety Facts: Driver Electronic Devise Use in 2015, NHTSA (September 2016). This report collects data about American drivers' electronic devise use behind the wheel in 2015, including breakdowns by individual behaviors (for example, texting and driving versus holding a phone to one's ear).

Distracted Driving 2013NHTSA (April 2015). This fact sheet addresses distracted driving behaviors in the U.S. in 2013.

Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers, New England Journal of Medicine (January 2014). Distracted driving attributable to the performance of secondary tasks is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes both among teenagers who are novice drivers and among adults who are experienced drivers.

Highway to Justice Newsletter, Spring 2014, American Bar Association - Includes an article entitled “Distracted Driving: Technology & Its Impact on the Complex Task of Driving."

Driver Electronic Device Use in 2012, NHTSA (February 2014). This survey details levels of visible cell phone use by US drivers in 2012.

Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the AutomobileAAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (June 2013).  The goal of the current research was to establish a systematic framework for measuring and understanding cognitive distraction in the vehicle. In this report, we describe three experiments designed to systematically measure cognitive distraction.

Mobile Device Use While Driving – United States and Seven European Countries, 2011, CDC (March 2013). In 2011, online surveys of drivers aged 18–64 years revealed that the percentage of those who reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving ranged from 21% in the United Kingdom to 69% in the United States, and the percentage of those who reported that they had read or sent text or e-mail messages while driving ranged from 15% in Spain to 31% in Portugal and the United States.

Text Messaging and Distracted Driving: Using Voice Dictation to Make Roads SaferUniversity of Michigan (2013). This research suggests that voice-to-text is safer than texting, which conflicts with other available research.

Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving, NHTSA (2012). The Blueprint For Ending Distracted Driving lays out a plan for building on the progress  we’ve made to date—and arms safety partners, advocates, and the Nation’s future leaders with clear, forward‑thinking strategies.

Distracted Driving Among Newly Licensed Teen Drivers, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (April 2012). The AAA Foundation collected video data on teen drivers during the provisional licensing stage of GDL. This in-vehicle data provided a unique opportunity to study distracted driver behaviors and potentially distracting conditions among young, beginning drivers. The study then analyzed behavior patterns among the surveyed drivers.

National Distracted Driving Telephone Survey Finds Most Drivers Answer the Call, Hold the Phone, and Continue to Drive, NHTSA (December 2011).

Americans and Text Messaging, Pew Research Center (September 2011). This study looked at Americans' general cell phone usage.

Distracted Driving and Driver, Roadway, and Environmental Factors, NHTSA, (December 2010). This report provides necessary details of the NMVCCS data followed by discussion on the choice of the relevant variables and the analysis methodology. The results from univariate and bivariate analyses are discussed in detail, reflecting on the impact of distracted driving on crash occurrence.

Crash Factors in Intersection-Related Crashes: An On-Scene PerspectiveNHTSA, (September 2010). Crashes often occur at intersections because these are the locations where two or more roads cross each other and activities such as turning left, crossing over, and turning right have the potential for conflicts resulting in crashes. In order to understand the crash scenarios at intersections, this study examines general characteristics of motor vehicle traffic crashes at intersections by analyzing the association of the critical reason with several crash factors such as driver’s sex and age, traffic control device, critical pre-crash event, and atmospheric condition. The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey data collected at crash scenes between 2005 and 2007 is used in statistical analyses such as descriptive analysis, generalized logit model, and configural frequency analysis.

Adults and Cell Phone DistractionsPew Research Center (June 2010). This report indicates widespread texting or talking on a cell phone while driving among adults.

Teens and Distracted Driving: Texting, Talking and Other Uses of the Cell Phone Behind the WheelPew Research Center (November 2009). Report on the current research surrounding teens and distracted driving because of their cell phones.

A Decrease in Brain Activation Associated with Driving when Listening to Someone SpeakCenter for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Carnegie Mellon University (2008). Behavioral studies have shown that engaging in a secondary task, such as talking on a cellular telephone, disrupts driving performance. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the impact of concurrent auditory language comprehension on the brain activity associated with a simulated driving task. Participants steered a vehicle along a curving virtual road, either undisturbed or while listening to spoken sentences that they judged as true or false. The dual-task condition produced a significant deterioration in driving accuracy caused by the processing of the auditory sentences. At the same time, the parietal lobe activation associated with spatial processing in the undisturbed driving task decreased by 37% when participants concurrently listened to sentences. The findings show that language comprehension performed concurrently with driving draws mental resources away from the driving and produces deterioration in driving performance, even when it does not require holding or dialing a phone.

A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver. 48 Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2 (Summer 2006). The objective of this research was to determine the relative impairment associated with conversing on a cellular telephone while driving. When driving conditions and time on task were controlled for, the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with drunk driving.

The Effects of Text Messaging on Young Novice Driver PerformanceAccident Research Centre, Monash University (February 2006). This project aimed to evaluate, using the advanced driving simulator located at the Monash University Accident Research Centre, the effects of text (SMS) messaging on the driving performance of young novice drivers. The results revealed that retrieving and, in particular, sending text messages had a detrimental effect on a number of safety critical driving measures.

Examining the Impact of Cell Phone Conversations on Driving Using Meta-Analytic Techniques, 48 Human Factors 1 (Spring 2006). This study was performed because there are many studies done on cell phone impact with mixed results. This analysis finds that there are significant costs to driver reactions to external hazards or events associated with cell phone use, hands-free phones do not eliminate or substantially reduce these costs and different research methodologies or performance measures may underestimate these costs.

The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, Phase II – Results of the 100-Car Field ExperimentNHTSA, (April 2006). The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study was the first instrumented vehicle study designed to collect a large volume of naturalistic driving data for a large number of drivers over an extended period of time. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) installed instruments and sensors in 100 vehicles that were then driven as ordinary vehicles by ordinary drivers for one year. Drivers were given no special instructions, no experimenter was present, and the data collection system was unobtrusive. In addition, drivers’ own vehicles were instrumented for 78 out of the 100 vehicles. Drivers apparently adapted rapidly to the instrumentation, probably within the first hour. The resulting database contains many extreme cases of driving behavior and performance, including severe drowsiness, impairment, judgment error, risk taking, willingness to engage in secondary tasks, aggressive driving, and traffic violation (just to name a few) that have been difficult to examine using other techniques.

Profiles in Driver Distraction: Effects of Cell Phone Conversations on Younger and Older Drivers, 46 Human Factors 4 (Winter 2004). Our research examined the effects of hands-free cell phone conversations on simulated driving. We found that driving performance of both younger and older adults was influenced by cell phone conversations.