January 18, 2011

Study: Transit drivers involved in collisions twice as likely to use phone while driving


Drivers involved in one or more collisions are 1.6 times more likely to be regularly distracted by any type of identified distraction (handheld cell, food/drink, GPS, etc). Photo credit: JonJon2k8 via Flickr.


Transit drivers who have been involved in a collision are twice as likely to regularly use a handheld cell phone compared to those drivers who have not been involved in a collision, according to a new study released last week.

The study, conducted by DriveCam Inc. as a part of its Driving Insights newsletter series, looks at recurring distracted driving behaviors among transit drivers.

The company found that while handheld cell use is the most commonly identified risky distraction, eating and/or drinking while driving is not far behind. In fact, drivers involved in one or more collisions are 1.8 times more likely to regularly eat or drink while driving.

The study focused on the analysis of more than 20,000 drivers in the transit industry who were active between June 2009 and June 2010. The difference between collision and non-collision drivers’ distracted driving behaviors was evaluated for this study in order to identify the distractions with a statistically significant difference. Once these distractions were identified, the probability of a collision given the number of times the distraction was observed was calculated.

Drivers involved in one or more collisions are:

  • 1.6 times more likely to be regularly distracted by any type of identified distraction (handheld cell, food/drink, GPS, etc).
  • 1.8 times more likely to be regularly distracted by food and/or drinks.
  • 2.0 times more likely to be regularly distracted by a handheld cell phone.

Other distractions, most interestingly, hands-free cell devices, did not show a statistically significant behavior difference between collision and non-collision drivers in the transit industry.

DriveCam’s Video Event Recorder provides the ability to identify when a collision has occurred. The company does not analyze collision events for legal reasons; however, extensive video event review of a driver’s prior non-collision poor driving behaviors allows DriveCam to better understand those behaviors that act as leading indicators of collisions. Identifying these behaviors provides safety managers a focused direction in coaching and training.

DriveCam’s Driving Insights newsletter series is designed to provide insight for executives and managers throughout a variety of transportation industries. It is derived from DriveCam’s extensive database of driving events from over 3 billion driving miles — the largest in the world, according to the company. Driving Insights is released on a regular basis.

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