Distracted Driving Resources

Distracted Driving Countermeasures for Commercial Vehicles (CTBSSP Synthesis 24)
TRB’s Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program, 2012
Examines driving distractions, as well as any protective (safety-enhancing) effects of particular devices.

The Road Safety Monitor 2011: Distracted Driving Trends
The Traffic Injury Research Forum, 2012
Results of an annual public opinion survey of Canadian drivers about distracted driving.

Sleepiness and Road Crashes: Challenges of Definition and Measurement
Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide, Australia, 2011
This literature review covers the topic of sleepiness and driving. The report includes recommendations for countermeasures and future research needs.

Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do
Governors Highway Safety Association, 2011
The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report that discusses what distracted driving is, how often drivers are distracted, how it impacts driver performance and crash risk, and what countermeasures may be most effective. The report also includes recommendations for states that may help reduce distracted driving.

Faces of Distracted Driving Video Series
U.S. Department of Transportation, 2010
This ongoing online video series by the USDOT explores the tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving. It features people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. The series is part of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s effort to raise greater awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

Noteworthy Practices

Zero Fatalities: Best Practices for Rural Areas
Robert Hull, Utah Department of Transportation

2010 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws (PDF)
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 2010
This annual highway safety report that rates each state and the District of Columbia on their adoption of 15 laws designed to improve roadway safety.

Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Fifth Edition (PDF)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2010
This report explores major highway safety strategies and countermeasures that are relevant to State Highway Safety Offices; summarizes their use, effectiveness, costs, and implementation time; and provides references to safety research summaries and individual studies.

Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems, Collection B: Chapters 6, 22 (Tutorial 3), and 23 (Updated)
Transportation Research Board, 2009
NCHRP Report 600B Explores human factors principles and findings for consideration by highway designers and traffic engineers. The report is designed to help the nonexpert in human factors to consider more effectively the roadway user’s capabilities and limitations in the design and operation of highway facilities. Chapters 1 through 5, 10, 11, 13, 22 (Tutorials 1 and 2), 23, and 26 are available online. Additional chapters, to be developed under NCHRP Project 17-41 according to the priorities established by the project panel, are expected in late 2010.

2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index (PDF)
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2008
This report provides an overview of the attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and experiences of the American public regarding traffic safety.

Rural and Urban Safety Cultures: Human-Centered Interventions Toward Zero Deaths in Rural Minnesota
Minnesota Local Road Research Board, 2007
Mn/DOT 2007-41
The total number of annual traffic fatalities and the rate of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled are considerably higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. This project aimed to be one of the first studies to systematically explore the potential contribution of rural driver attitudes and behavior that may be a causal factor of these trends.

The Culture of Traffic Safety in Rural America (PDF)
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2007
Identifies the nature of the fatal crashes and those factors that can be attributed to the higher fatality rate in rural areas.

Effectiveness of Behavioral Highway Safety Countermeasures
Transportation Research Board, 2008
NCHRP Report 622
This report explores a framework and guidance for estimating the costs and benefits of emerging, experimental, untried, or unproven behavioral highway safety countermeasures.

SHRP 2 Naturalistic Driving Study Brochure (PDF)
Transportation Research Board, 2009
TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has released a brochure that answers questions about the program’s naturalistic driving study of 3,000 volunteer drivers, which aims to reduce crash risk, injuries, and fatalities by creating a better understanding of driver behavior.

Speed Limit-Related Issues on Gravel Roads (PDF)
Kansas Department of Transportation, 2009
K-TRAN: KSU-06-5
Total length of unpaved roads in Kansas is about 98,000 miles, of which about 78,000 miles are gravel roads. Most of the gravel roads are not typically posted with speed limit signs but rather are regulated with a 55 mph blanket speed limit established by Kansas statutes. An effort was made in this study to evaluate the effects of currently posted lower speed limits in some Kansas counties based on traffic characteristics and safety on gravel roads, with the intention of providing proper guidelines for setting speed limits on gravel roads in Kansas. Speed analysis on a number of gravel roads where the statutory-imposed, frequently unposted speed limit of 55 mph was utilized indicated that they are functioning at a reasonably acceptable level in terms of actual speeds.

Road Courtesy and Road Safety (PDF)
Centre for Automotive Safety Research, 2008
The main sections of this report deal with (a) speed, anger and aggression, and young drivers, (b) aspects of courtesy relevant to driving, and (c) campaigns. Courtesy refers both to behaviours (the presence of some and the absence of others) and to the attitudes and habits of mind that accompany behaviours. As behaviour, courtesy is mostly safe but sometimes not (when it is in conflict with the conventions of driving). As an attitude – thinking about possible actions of other road users and adjusting one’s own behaviour, and avoiding any aggressiveness in one’s driving – courtesy certainly should be encouraged. This is quite a complex and conditional message. Complex messages are unlikely to have much effect. Thus the present report does not recommend putting road courtesy at the centre of a road safety campaign. It might, however, be an appropriate component of a broader campaign: if some behaviour were being promoted on grounds of safety, courtesy or consideration for others could be given as a reason (that might carry weight with some audiences).

The 70 mph Speed Limit: Speed Adaptation, Spillover, and Surrogate Measures of Safety (PDF)
Iowa State University, 2007
On July 1, 2005, the speed limit on rural interstates in Iowa was increased from 65 mph to 70 mph. This research first conducted a before-and-after study on rural interstates and other facilities to study the effects on safety performance in Iowa due to this speed limit change. The study explored the impact of the speed limit change on two effects known as the “speed adaptation” and “spillover” effects. Research was also conducted on traffic citations issued on the rural interstate because citations may be a surrogate measure for highway safety. Finally, research was conducted on the recent increase in the retail price of gasoline and its effect on driver behavior.

Assessment of the effectiveness of proposed “Keep Right Pass Left — It’s the Law” signs on two lane rural freeways
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2007
This study focuses on the problem of unlawful left-lane usage on non-congested two-lane rural freeways in Michigan. According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, vehicles shall remain on the right lane of two-lane sections of rural freeways when not passing other vehicles. While drivers are currently reminded of this rule by signs stating “Slower Traffic Keep Right” installed as part of the normal post-interchange sign sequence, traffic observations suggest that many motorists do not to follow this rule. As part of an effort to entice drivers to abide by existing rules, this study investigates a proposal to replace current “Slower Traffic Keep Right” signs with new explicit signs stating “Keep Right Pass Left — It’s the Law.” To assess the effectiveness of this replacement, traffic behavioral data were collected at four rural sites along I-96 in Michigan, first with the existing sign in place and then with the proposed new sign. Tube counters data were collected to compare lane-specific traffic volumes and speed distributions in the presence of each sign. Video data were further collected to obtain information about individual passing events and develop statistics about the validity of left-lane usage by individual vehicles and about left-lane vehicle groupings caused by slow moving vehicles in the freeway left lane. Results of the analyses provide no indication that replacing existing “Slower Traffic Keep Right” signs would effectively improve left-lane usage behavior on two-lane rural freeways. Depending on the sites considered, either improvements or deteriorations in left-lane behavior were observed following the sign replacement. In all cases, statistical tests further indicate that the observed changes are not statistically significant.

Health and Wellness Programs for Commercial Drivers: A Synthesis of Safety Practice
Transportation Research Board, 2007
CTBSSP Synthesis 15
This synthesis provides a state of the practice of commercial driver health and wellness programs. It provides a review of literature on truck and motorcoach driver health issues, highlighting the chief health risks facing commercial drivers; presents an analythical review of literature associating crash causation with functional impairments affecting abilities of commercial motor vehicle drivers to drive safely; describes elements of employee health and wellness programs that could apply to commercial drivers; provides the results of a survey of trucking and motorcoach companies who have already implemented employee health and wellness programs and documents the components that are presently being offered to their drivers; and offers several case studies of successful employee health and wellness programs in the truck and motorbus industries, focusing on the elements that appear to work effectively.

The Role of Safety Culture in Preventing Commercial Motor Vehicle Crashes
Transportation Research Board, 2007
CTBSSP Synthesis 14
This synthesis provides information on practices that offer the greatest influence on developing and enhancing a culture of safety among commercial motor vehicle drivers. The synthesis is based on a comprehensive review of (a) literature and research pertaining to safety culture as it relates to motor carrier industries, (b) surveys and interviews of motor carrier safety managers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, and (c) case study data collected from motor carriers.

Driver Perceptions of Risk: Potential Approaches to Improving Driver Safety (PDF)
Texas Transportation Institute, 2006
This research study examined driver perceptions of the reasons for and the risks associated with certain aggressive or negligent driving behaviors, including illegal turns, disregard of stoplights or stop signs, and improper lane usage. A literature search, interviews with DPS officers and “defensive driving” instructors, driver focus groups, and driver surveys in two Texas cities were employed to determine drivers’ perceptions of the risks of selected traffic violations, factors that encourage or discourage unsafe driving behaviors, and how a change in perceived risk may affect future driver behavior.

An Assessment of Regional Road User Needs in Three Rural States
Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, 2003
The objective of the study was to assess rural users and providers perception of rural road needs.

Speeding in Rural Areas, FHWA Safety, November 2000 (PDF)
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 2000
Discusses speeding in rural areas.