Distracted Driving and Associated Crash Risks

Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic that has resulted in deaths and injuries in crashes throughout the U.S. Research is needed to understand whether common cognitive tasks such as texting, handheld cell phone conversation, and front-seat passenger conversation cause distracted driving and also increase the risk of crashing. The acquisition of the Louisiana State University (LSU) driving simulator offered opportunity for experimental work to be undertaken in this field of research. Sixty-seven participants from the LSU community of students and staff members, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) staff, and the general public participated in the experimental work. Participants were placed in simulated environments while being exposed to different tasks (handheld cell phone conversation, texting, and front-seat passenger conversation) to determine the effect on their driving task. Using Lane Position Variability and Mean Velocity to respectively represent lateral and longitudinal control of the vehicle, the results suggest that there was no significant decrease in driver performance during the cell phone conversation. On the contrary, during the texting event, a significant decrease in driving performance was observed in both lateral and longitudinal control of the vehicle. Front-seat passenger task produced significant decrease in the lateral control of the vehicle but not in its longitudinal control. The results also suggest that even though participants maintained longitudinal control of the vehicle during the handheld phone and passenger conversation drives, they significantly slowed their speeds in the process. However for the texting drive, even though they significantly slowed down, the participants still exhibited loss of longitudinal control of the vehicle. The findings of this study have safety and policy implications in the campaign to reduce distracted driving.

  • Record URL:
  • Summary URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803

    Southwest Region University Transportation Center

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute
    Texas A&M University System, 3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135

    Louisiana Transportation Research Center

    Baton Rouge, LA  United States 

    Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

    1201 Capitol Access Road, P.O. Box 94245
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70804-9245

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Ishak, Sherif
    • Codjoe, Julius
    • Thapa, Raju
    • McCarter, Kevin
  • Publication Date: 2014-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 94p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01630044
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/LA.14/530, LTRC Project Number: 13-1SA
  • Contract Numbers: State Project Number: 30000760
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2017 9:29AM