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Investigations of Cell Phone Use While Driving in NC. Jane Stutts William Hunter Herman Huang. University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Project Tasks:. Statewide telephone survey of cell phone users and non-users.

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Investigations of cell phone use while driving in nc

Investigations of Cell Phone Use While Driving in NC

Jane Stutts

William Hunter

Herman Huang

University of North Carolina

Highway Safety Research Center


Project tasks
Project Tasks:

  • Statewide telephone survey of cell phone users and non-users.

  • Analysis of characteristics of cell phone-related motor vehicle crashes.

  • Supplemental data collection by NC State Highway Patrol.


Statewide telephone survey goals
Statewide Telephone Survey Goals

  • Obtain updated information on cell phone use and user characteristics.

  • Compare cell phone users to non-users.

  • Obtain opinions of users and non-users on issues of cell phone safety and regulation.

  • Obtain baseline measures for future comparisons.


Telephone survey conclusions
Telephone Survey Conclusions

  • 3 in 5 drivers have used a cell phone while driving.

  • Usage highest in 25-39 and 40-54 age groups, and does not differ by gender or race.

  • Average talk time decreases with age, and is higher for males than females.

  • 1 in 4 users have a hands-free device, but not all use it.


Survey conclusions cont
Survey Conclusions (cont.)

  • Users perceive talking on phones to be less distracting and less of a safety concern than non-users.

  • Users less likely to support legislation that would prohibit anything other than hand-held phone use.

  • Users less likely to support stricter penalties for cell phone drivers in crashes.


Identification and analysis of cell phone crashes
Identification and Analysis of Cell Phone Crashes

  • Computerized search of NC crash report narratives from January 1996 through August 2000

  • Search words: answer, carphone, cell, dial

  • Narratives read to determine their relevance

  • 452 cell phone crashes identified

    • 0.04% of all crashes (an underestimate)

    • Increased from 0.01% in 1996 to 0.15% in 2000


Sample narratives
Sample Narratives

  • Driver 1 bent down to answer car phone and ran into back of Veh. 2 which knocked Veh. 2 into rear of Veh. 3.

  • Driver 1 stated that he ran off the roadway while trying to reach for his cell phone.

  • (Not used) Driver 1 stated that she had just got out of the eye doctors office and her pupils were dialated and she ran the red light.


Data limitations
Data Limitations

  • Search terms may have missed some narratives.

  • Drivers may not admit they were using a cell phone.

  • Officers may not ask about cell phone use.

  • Extent of underreporting is not known.

  • Hand-held vs. hands-free is not known.










Summary of findings
Summary of Findings

  • Cell phone crashes more likely to occur:

    • On local roads and in urban areas

    • During mid-day or early afternoon hours

  • Drivers involved in cell phone related crashes are more likely to be:

    • Ages 35-55

    • Male

    • Driving sport utility vehicles

    • Cited for failure to reduce speed or traffic signal violations


Special data collection by nc state highway patrol
Special Data Collection by NC State Highway Patrol

  • All 8 NC SHP districts participating

  • Two month data collection period, May 15 - July 14, 2002.


Supplemental data collection form
Supplemental Data Collection Form

“Complete this form for any crash where a cell phone was in use.”

  • What type of cell phone was the driver using? (hand-held, hand-held with headset, etc.)

  • What was the driver doing at the time of the crash? (talking, dialing, answering, etc.)

  • How important was the cell phone in causing the crash? (very, somewhat, not at all, uncertain)

  • How did you obtain information about cell phone use in this crash? (observed, driver volunteered, questioned driver, witness report, etc.)

  • Estimated 11.8% of cell phone crashes statewide reported by NC HP.

    1,475 projected crashes annually


Descriptive results
Descriptive Results

  • 29 cell phone crashes statewide over the 2-month data collection period

    • Only 1 hands-free phone

    • Predominantly occurred while talking on phone (9 crashes), followed by reaching for phone (5 crashes), dialing (4 crashes) and answering phone (3 crashes)

    • 86% very significant, 14% somewhat significant in causing crash

    • Information most often volunteered by driver, but officers also questioned driver.


Cell phone crash projections
Cell Phone Crash Projections

  • 29 cell phone crashes statewide over a 2-month period

    Translates to 174 crashes annually

  • But only 11.8% of cell phone crashes statewide reported by NC SHP.

    1,475 projected crashes annually


Investigations of cell phone use while driving in nc

Full report can be accessed at:

http://www.hsrc.unc.edu/

Thank You!


Survey methods
Survey Methods

  • Random digit dial household telephone survey.

  • Adults ages 18+, NC resident, valid driver’s license.

  • Targeted 500 users, 150 non-users.

  • At least 50 respondents in each of following age groups: 18-24, 25-39, 40-54, 55-69, 70+.

  • Descriptive tabulations and multivariate regression analysis using SAS.


Screener results
Screener Results

  • Residency, age, driver license checks, plus

    “Do you talk on a cell phone while driving?”

  • 1006 completions, 106 non-completions (90.5% of all contacts)

  • 550/1006 cell phone users (54.7%)


Percent using cell phone while driving by age
Percent Using Cell Phone While Driving by Age

Adjusted % using cell phone while driving: 58.8%


Age distribution of cell phone users vs non users
Age Distribution of Cell Phone Users vs. Non-users


Gender distribution of cell phone users vs non users
Gender Distribution of Cell Phone Users vs. Non-users


Vehicle type distribution of cell phone users vs non users
Vehicle Type Distribution of Cell Phone Users vs. Non-users


Cell phone use characteristics type of hands free system
Cell Phone Use Characteristics- Type of Hands Free System

Hands-free 28%

Headset 64%

Speaker phone 33%

Other 3%




Opinions on cell phone legislation percent who would vote to support
Opinions on Cell Phone Legislation(Percent who would vote to support)