The Impact of driver distraction and secondary tasks with and without other co-occurring driving behaviors on the level of road traffic crashes

Accid Anal Prev. 2021 Apr;153:106010. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2021.106010. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Driving safety is typically affected by concurrent non-driving tasks. These activities might negatively impact the trips' outcome and cause near-crash or crash incidents and accidents. The crashes impose a tremendous social and economic cost to society and might affect the involving individuals' quality of life. As it stands, road injuries are ranked among top-ten leading causes of death by the World Health Organization. Distracted driving is defined as an attention diversion of the driver toward a competing activity. It was shown in numerous studies that distracted driving increase the probability of near-crash or crash events. By leveraging the statistical power of the large SHRP2 naturalistic data, we are able to quantify the preponderance of specific distractions during daily trips and confirm the causality factor of an ubiquitous non-driving task in the crash event. We show that, except for phone usage which happens more frequently in near-crash and crash categories than in baseline trips, both distracted driving and secondary tasks occur almost uniformly in different types of trips. In this study, we investigate the impact of the co-occurrence of distracted driving with other driving behaviors and secondary tasks. It is found that the co-occurrence of distracted driving with other driving behaviors or secondary tasks increase the chance of near-crash and crash events. This study's findings can inform the design and development of more precise and reliable driving assistance and warning systems.

Keywords: Co-occurring behaviors; Distracted driving; Driving behaviors; Secondary tasks.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Attention
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Distracted Driving*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life