A new report shows that vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers are much more likely to result in significant injuries or death. The reports suggest that increased emphasis on the way roads are designed is a key to improving. Ohio State University's Risk Institute data clearly showed this increase in crash severity, most notably in rear-end crashes in construction zones and on interstates. Designs such as roundabouts at intersections significantly reduce this severity, especially when done in conjunction with heightened law enforcement activity.
Fatal Bicycle & Vehicle Crash
Denise Marsh, a 53-year-old mother of three, was among a group of bicyclists struck by a distracted driver. Marsh died and six others were injured at the scene. The Miami Herald explained the group was called Cycling Family Broward. The driver, 33-year-old Nicole Vanderweit, was believed to have been distracted and also having difficulty navigating because of glare from the sun.
Days later, the Sun Sentinel reported that one of the injured cyclists, 62-year-old Carlos Rodriguez, had also died as a result of the incident. Vanderweit has not been charged in the accident; however, authorities are attempting to repair her phone that was damaged in the crash to review her usage history.
- National Highway Safety Transportation Administration data shows that approximately 9% of fatal accidents in 2016 involved a distracted driver
- Overall, 48% of all collisions involved a driver who was experiencing some sort of distraction
- Younger motorists in the 20 to 24 year age range are the most likely to drive while distracted
- The usage of mobile devices has largely contributed to this disturbing trend and in-car electronics are also a definite factor
- The Federal Communications Commission estimates that each day in the U.S. there are nine fatalities and over 1,000 injuries that are somehow involved with distracted driving
- During any given time across the country over 600,000 people are using a mobile device and driving
AAA Study: Intro
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted an interactive test of how distractions impact drivers. They feel that vehicles today have too many distractions including entertainment and navigational systems built-in. They conducted the testing in a parking lot in Prince George County Maryland in conjunction with a research team from the University of Utah. Some of the systems tested included Apple CarPlay & Google's Android Auto.
AAA Study: Road Test
The test had drivers use a Dodge Ram that has their own in-car system as well. Drivers were asked to signal whenever they detected a vibrating buzzer and a light that both activated randomly. In addition, the drivers were asked questions as they drove. The changes in awareness and reaction time were then recorded.
The report showed that both Apple CarPlay & Google's Android Auto systems still have some room for improvement. They found that the factory-installed electronics in new vehicles were a major source of distractions. David Yang, their executive director, explained that these distractions are clearly contributing to the rise in bicycle and pedestrian accidents. He summed up modern vehicles as having “too much stuff...that is too complicated.”