This report primarily focuses on an attempt to document the level of driver distraction existing in Kentucky through an analysis of crash data and by conducting an observational survey of drivers. Additional research is cited as a means of comparing other studies with results from Kentucky, as well as establishing a definition of distracted driving. The status of laws related to use of cell phones in other states was summarized, and the recently passed legislation in Kentucky was noted by incorporation of the full text as an appendix.
It was determined from analysis of Kentucky data that if the three categories of human factors (inattention, distraction,and cell phone) listed on the traffic collision report are combined; the total would be 53,223 collisions and 184 fatal collisions. These numbers represent 43.1 percent of the total collisions and 24.5 percent of the fatal collisions in 2008. Detailed analyses were performed to determine where driver distraction was listed as a contributing factor. Included were five years of data from 2004 through 2008, involving 4,143 fatal crashes. Combining the percentages for cell phones (0.8 percent) with those for driver distraction (1.1 percent) and driver inattention (1.2 percent-where there was evidence of a distraction) results in the finding that 3.1 percent of fatal collisions can be directly related to a driver distraction. Results from the observational survey show the following weighted averages of percentages of distraction categories: 7.3% - cell phone use; 0.2% - hands free cell use; 0.9% - keying; 1.6% - other distraction. These results were similar to those obtained by an observational study by NHTSA in 2008.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/eric_green/40/