Influence of road traffic environment and mobile phone distraction on the speed selection behaviour of young drivers

Both naturalistic and simulator studies have reported that drivers distracted by a mobile phone select a lower driving speed. Speed decrements have been argued to be a risk compensatory behaviour of distracted drivers. Nonetheless, the extent and circumstances of the speed change among distracted drivers are still not known very well. As such, the primary objective of this study was to investigate patterns of speed variation in relation to contextual factors and distraction. Using the CARRS-Q high-fidelity Advanced Driving Simulator, the speed selection behaviour of 32 drivers aged 18-26 years was examined in two phone conditions: baseline (no phone conversation) and handheld phone operation. The simulator driving route contained five different types of road traffic complexities, including one road section with a horizontal S curve, one horizontal S curve with adjacent traffic, one straight segment of suburban road without traffic, one straight segment of suburban road with traffic interactions, and one road segment in a city environment. Speed deviations from the posted speed limit were analysed using Ward’s Hierarchical Clustering method to identify the effects of road traffic environment and cognitive distraction. The speed deviations along curved road sections formed two different clusters for the two phone conditions, implying that distracted drivers adopt a different strategy for selecting driving speed in a complex driving situation. In particular, distracted drivers selected a lower speed while driving along a horizontal curve. The speed deviation along the city road segment and other straight road segments grouped into a different cluster, and the deviations were not significantly different across phone conditions, suggesting a negligible effect of distraction on speed selection along these road sections. Future research should focus on developing a risk compensation model to explain the relationship between road traffic complexity and distraction.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 12p
  • Monograph Title: 4th International Conference on Driver Distraction and Inattention (DDI2015), Sydney: proceedings

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01594964
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 15325
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2016 10:52AM