Median and wide shoulders on freeways could encourage distracted driving by giving drivers a false sense of safety, transportation researchers suggest in a recent article.
“The combination and presence of a shoulder, a higher, median speed limit and additional lanes could encourage increased phone use while driving,” the Texas A&M Transportation Institute said in a press release. early this month.
Texas A&M highlighted the findings of Characterization of the use of the telephone while driving: impact on safety from a road and operational point of view using a factor analysis, an article recently published in Analysis and prevention of accidents.
“The study could help transport companies identify countermeasures on the roads to reduce distraction-related crashes and provide researchers with a new perspective to study the behavior of telephone connections rather than focusing on the personalities of passengers. drivers, ”Alyson Chapman, Texas A&M communications specialist wrote in a recent article. article published on the site of the engineering school.
Distracted driving is one of the main factors affecting the loss frequency of Canadian auto insurers, AM Best Company Inc. suggested in COVID-19 wreaks havoc on Canada’s economy and insurance industry, a report published last September. In this article, AM Best reports that among Canadian insurers, the loss ratio in “personal automobile accidents” deteriorated by almost 10 points, from 70.4% in 2018 to 80.3% in 2019. In motor liability, property and casualty insurance claim ratios in Canada have been increasing steadily. These ratios were 62.3% (in 2016), 67.3% (2017), 71.4% (2018) and 73% (2019), according to AM Best. The rising cost of vehicle repairs and distracted driving are among the causes, suggests AM Best.
Road features such as shoulders and medians provide a “safety buffer” to drivers, giving them a sense of safety, Chapman wrote for Texas A&M, describing the results of Texas A&M research published in Analysis and prevention of accidents. On a controlled access highway, drivers may be less careful as they enter and exit without having to watch the traffic lights.
The authors of the article are: Jack Kong, graduate research assistant at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute; Subasish Das, assistant scientist in the road safety division of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute; Tracy Zhou, Associate Transportation Researcher in the Research and Implementation Division of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute; and Texas A&M engineering professor Yunglong Zhang.
Kong was cited by Texas A&M as saying the study used a large set of driving data (without the real names of the drivers), which the researchers obtained from a private data service provider. Specifically, the data comes from a smartphone app that promotes defensive driving without being distracted by the phone, Chapman wrote.
“Researchers integrated all events of phone use while driving with the Texas highway inventory and the number of distracted crashes on each road segment into the Texas Accident Database highway inventory. . “
In Canada, distracted driving is on the minds of politicians at the provincial and federal levels.
“Research has shown that distracted drivers do not fully scan the environment for potential problems, are slow to identify risks, and then they are slow to respond appropriately,” said Karen McCrimmon, Liberal MP for Kanata -Carleton, during a previous debate in the House of Commons.
“Over the past five years, 20% of reported traffic fatalities have occurred in crashes where one of the drivers was distracted or inattentive,” McCrimmon told Commons in 2017 during the draft’s second reading. Bill C-373, a private member’s bill. who was ultimately defeated. “During the same period, 33% of reported motor vehicle injuries occurred in crashes where distraction or inattention was found to be a contributing cause of the crash.
Had Bill C-373 been passed, it would have made a number of measures mandatory, including the collection of data on incidents involving the use of portable electronic devices.
Feature image via iStock.com/nycshooter