Longer-term effects of Washington, DC, law on drivers' hand-held cell phone use.
ABSTRACT To determine whether the substantial short-term declines in drivers' use of hand-held phones achieved in the District of Columbia (DC) were sustained 1 year after a ban.
Drivers' daytime hand-held cell phone use was observed in DC and nearby areas of Virginia and Maryland, states without bans. Observations were conducted several months before the ban, shortly after, and 1 year later. The number of vehicles observed in all three surveys combined was 51,945 in DC, 36,796 in Maryland, and 43,033 in Virginia.
The rate of talking on hand-held phones declined significantly from 6.1 percent before the law to 3.5 percent shortly after; when measured 1 year later, use was 4.0 percent, still significantly lower than baseline. Based on increases in rates of talking on hand-held phones in Maryland and Virginia, longer-term phone use in DC was estimated to be 53 percent lower than would have been expected without the ban. Declines in DC were identified for drivers of vehicles registered in all three jurisdictions.
In DC, there was an initial decline of about 50 percent in drivers talking on hand-held cell phones following a ban, and this decline was sustained about 1 year later. After a similar ban in New York, there was an initial decline in phone use comparable with the initial decline in DC, but the decline a year after the New York ban took full effect was only about 21 percent and not statistically significant. The potential difference in sustained effectiveness for the DC ban may reflect tougher enforcement in DC. Even if full compliance with hand-held phone bans can be achieved, the risks from drivers' use of hands-free phones will remain.
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ABSTRACT: The USA leads the developed world in motor vehicle fatalities, presenting a critical public health threat. We examined whether an increasing share of mass transit use, relative to vehicle miles traveled on public roads, was associated with reduced motor vehicle fatalities. We used annual city-level data for the USA from 1982-2010 provided by the Fatality Accident Reporting System, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Census Bureau, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to estimate a structural equation model of the factors associated with mass transit miles and motor vehicle fatalities. The final analytic data included 2,900 observations from 100 cities over 29 years. After accounting for climate, year, and the economic costs of driving, an increasing share of mass transit miles traveled per capita was associated with reduced motor vehicle fatalities. The costs of congestion to the average commuter and gas prices were positively associated with increasing the share of mass transit miles traveled. The economic costs of driving increased over time, while both the fatality rate and the share of mass transit miles traveled decreased over time. Increasing the share of mass transit miles traveled may be associated with fewer motor vehicle miles traveled. Increasing mass transit uptake may be an effective public health intervention to reduce motor vehicle fatalities in cities.Journal of Urban Health 06/2014; 91(6). DOI:10.1007/s11524-014-9880-9 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cellphone use while driving is one of the major concerns in traffic safety, and numerous researches found that cellphone use while driving can increase traffic collision risk. With growing popularity of cellphone use, many states in the United States enacted the law banning handheld cellphone use while driving in recent years. However, there is a debate on effectiveness of the law. In this study, we analyze the six-year collision data between 2006 and 2010 in the state of California to examine the timing of a significant change in the trend of cellphone related collisions. We adopt the turning point analysis technique without imposing a prior belief on whether or when such a change has occurred. Both the frequentist and Bayesian approaches are applied to four different groups, including the all cellphone collision group and three subgroups characterized by cellphone usage. The result shows that the turning points coincides with the timing of enforcement of the handheld law in California, except for the subgroup containing hands-free related collisions only. We applied the same method to two confounding factors including driving under influence and CD/radio use, and find that the turning points do not agree with the cellphone related collisions. Although a more comprehensive set of confounding factors needs to be considered to establish a causal relationship between the handheld law and cellphone related collisions, coincidence between the handheld law and the turning point suggests that the law should be considered as one of the primary factors in cellphone related collisions reduction.Safety Science 12/2014; 70:50–57. DOI:10.1016/j.ssci.2014.04.014 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This project aimed to derive fundamental knowledge about driver exposure to technology-based distracting activities and the conditions in which distraction is experienced. An Internet survey of 287 Victorian drivers was conducted to: determine the extent to which drivers reportedly are exposed to technology-based sources of distraction; factors that influence willingness to engage in distracting activities; and strategies used to manage distraction. The survey found that almost 60% of drivers use a mobile phone while driving and over one third of these drivers use the phone in hand-held mode. Young drivers (18-25 yrs) also SMS more frequently than middle-age (26-54 yrs) and older (55+ yrs) drivers, with 88% of young drivers reading SMS and 77% sending SMS while driving. A high proportion of drivers use audio entertainment systems, but few use in-vehicle visual displays such as DVD players. Most drivers (84%) believe they drive in a less safe manner when engaged in distracting tasks and, importantly, take steps to avoid distractions. Based on the survey results, recommendations are offered regarding how to better target distraction policy and countermeasures.