Phone Use While Driving: Results From an Observational Survey

The aim of this study was to quantify the level of handheld phone use when driving in South Australia. The study also sought to investigate any driver, site, and vehicle characteristics associated with handheld phone use to inform countermeasure development and publicity campaigns. An on-road observational survey of handheld phone use was undertaken as part of a larger restraint use survey. The survey was conducted at 61 sites in metropolitan Adelaide and rural regions within South Australia on weekdays and a weekend in 2009. A total of 64 (0.6%) of the 11,524 drivers observed during the survey were using handheld phones. Handheld phone usage rates ranged from 0.8 percent in metropolitan Adelaide to 0.3 percent in the rural region of The Riverland. Of all driver, site, and vehicle characteristics examined, the only statistically significant difference in handheld phone usage was for the number of vehicle occupants. The odds of a driver using a handheld phone while traveling alone was over 4 times higher than for a driver traveling with passengers. The level of handheld phone use among drivers in South Australia appears to be low relative to other jurisdictions. The level of enforcement activity and severity of penalties do not offer a clear explanation for the higher levels of compliance with phone laws. Given the rate of increase in phone technology, it is important to conduct regular roadside surveys of phone use among drivers to monitor trends in usage over time.


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  • Accession Number: 01535284
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 28 2014 3:01PM