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Distracting behaviors among teenagers and young, middle-aged, and older adult drivers when driving without and with warnings from an integrated vehicle safety system

Kidd, David G.; Buonarosa, Mary Lynn
Journal of Safety Research
June 2017

Introduction: Crash warnings provide feedback that can encourage safer driving behavior and could influence driver engagement in secondary behaviors. The current study examined the relative likelihood that various secondary behaviors were present among drivers ages 16-17, 20-30, 40-50, and 60-70 when driving with and without receiving warnings from an integrated vehicle safety system.
Method: Participants drove an instrumented sedan equipped with various collision warning systems for an extended period. Ten 5-second video clips were randomly sampled from driving periods at vehicle speeds above 25 mph and below 5 mph each week for each driver and coded for the presence of 11 secondary behaviors.
Results: Based on modeling using a generalized estimating equation approach, the likelihood that at least one secondary behavior was present was not significantly different during periods when drivers drove with warnings relative to periods when they drove without warnings. At least one secondary behavior was 21% more likely to be present when drivers were traveling below 5 mph relative to when they were traveling above 25 mph; however, the effect of vehicle speed was not significantly different during periods without and with crash warnings. Separate models for each of the five most common secondary behaviors also indicated that the likelihood that each behavior was present was not significantly affected by the presence of warnings.
Conclusions: There was no evidence that receiving collision warnings from an integrated vehicle safety system discouraged or encouraged teen and adult drivers to engage in secondary behaviors or influenced the speeds at which they did.
Practical applications: Encouraging the fitment of forward collision warning and other technologies similar to those in the current study intended to prevent crashes will not unintentionally increase distracted driving.