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Research comprises creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects, or the project as a whole. - source

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Accident Reconstruction Research: Cell Phones

This section focuses on cell phone usage while driving. Please note the articles found in this section were NOT written by the ARC Network (unless specifically stated). The ARC Network researches various subjects and builds research repository of our findings. This way you can interpret and use the information as you see fit.

The ARC Network understands that cell phones are only one aspect of a much bigger topic - driver distractions. However, this section only deals with cell phones.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

An overview of the NHTSA Driver Distraction Program

Capturing Variables Indicating Driver Distraction In Large Electronic Files

Driver Distraction Research

Driver Distraction Expert Working Group Meetings

Driver Strategies for Engaging in Distracting Tasks Using In-Vehicle Technologies

Driving with Cell Phones: What Have Highway Safety Researchers Learned?

Official US Government web site for distracted driving

The LA Times reports that the CA Highway Patrol attributes 4699 crashes, 2786 injuries, and 31 deaths for nine months of 2001. They estimate the actual total may be well over 6,000 for the entire year. Los Angeles Times, Nov.10, 2002.
Note: This article has been archived and only available for a price, but here here is an article based on the original.

The Harvard University Center for Risk Analysis estimates per year, 1.5 million crashes, 560,000 injuries, and 2600 deaths due to phone use in moving vehicles. published in Dec, 2002

The University of Kansas has found that other activities in the car are not as distracting as carrying on a phone conversation.

The University of Rhode Island concludes that phone conversations cause what they term "tunnel vision" in drivers. Professor Manbir Sodhi states that "holding the phones isn't the main issue. Thinking is."

Cell Phones and Highway Safety:  2006 State Legislative Update

The Role of Driver Distraction in Traffic Crashes
This peer-reviewed report documents the relative reported frequency of serious crashes caused by various forms of driver distraction. It should be of interest to legislators, licensing agencies, law enforcement, and traffic safety organizations. It will be available shortly in published paper format and as an electronic file on the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's web site. Funding for this study was provided by voluntary contributions from the American Automobile Association and its affiliated motor clubs; from individual AAA members; and from AAA club-affiliated insurance companies. - PDF Download Phase 1 Final Report PDF Download Phase 2 Final Report
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention (1991 Study)
Research has shown that use of cellular phones does not interfere significantly with the ability to control an automobile except among the elderly, where potentially dangerous lane excursions can occur. However, the effect of cellular phones as a possible distraction has not been investigated.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety - 1991

The Influence of the Use of Mobile Phones on Driver Situation Awareness - PDF Download
The driving performance of 15 subjects in a simulated road environment has been studied both with and without a hands-free telephone conversation. The performance indicators used were choice reaction time, braking profile, lateral position, speed, and situation awareness. The driving task was relatively easy, and the young drivers studies were able to have a hands-free telephone conversation and perform well with respect to lateral position, the variation in lateral position of the car, and speed maintenance. However, significant differences were found in choice reaction time, especially in the beginning stages of the telephone conversation, and in situation awareness. The subjects reacted significantly slower to an unexpected event in the first two minutes of the telephone conversation and were, for a large part of the telephone conversation, unaware of traffic movements around them.

Individual Differences and In-Vehicle Distraction While Driving: A Test Track Study and Psychometric Evaluation - PDF Download
The influence of individual differences on driver distraction was examined in this study. Sixteen (16) test participants were trained on destination entry procedures with four commercially available route guidance systems, as well as the dialing task on a commercially available wireless cellular telephone and on manually tuning an after-market car radio. The participants then drove an instrumented vehicle at approximately 45 mph on a 7.5 mile oval test track with very light traffic while concurrently engaging in various tasks with these devices. In-vehicle task completion time, average glance duration away from the road ahead, number of glances away from the road ahead, and number of lane exceedences were recorded. The participants were later given an automated battery of temporal visual perception and cognitive tasks. Performance on the test battery was then correlated to performance on the test track measures to determine the extent to which individual driver differences could account for observed performance differences. Analysis of these elementary test scores as predictors show low but consistent patterns of correlation to test-track performance measures.

Association Between Cellular-Telephone Calls and Motor Vehicle Collisions - PDF Download
An epidemiologic method was used to study whether using a cellular telephone while driving increases the risk of a motor vehicle collision. We studied 699 drivers who had cellular telephones and who were involved in motor vehicle collisions resulting in substantial property damage but no personal injury. Each person’s cellular-telephone calls on the day of the collision and during the previous week were analyzed through the use of detailed billing records. A total of 26,798 cellular-telephone calls were made during the 14-month study period. The risk of a collision when using a cellular telephone was four times higher than the risk when a cellular telephone was not being used. The relative risk was similar for drivers who differed in personal characteristics such as age and driving experience; calls close to the time of the collision were particularly hazardous; and units that allowed the hands to be free offered no safety advantage over hand-held units. Thirty-nine percent of the drivers called emergency services after the collision, suggesting that having a cellular telephone may have had advantages in the aftermath of an event. The use of cellular telephones in motor vehicles is associated with a quadrupling of the risk of a collision during the brief period of a call. Decisions about regulation of such telephones, however, need to take into account the benefits of the technology and the role of individual responsibility.
The New England Journal of Medicine

Driver Workload Assessment of Route Guidance System Destination Entry While Driving: A Test Track Study - PDF Download
This study examined destination entry while driving with four commercially available route guidance systems. Three of the systems involved various visual-manual demands while the fourth involved voice input and output. Cellular phone dialing and radio tuning were included as comparison tasks. Test participants drove an instrumented passenger car, accompanied by an experimenter, on a 7.5 mile multilane test track with light traffic. Results indicated that, on average, all three systems with visual-manual methods of destination entry were associated with lengthier completion times, longer eyes-off-road-ahead times, longer and more frequent glances to the device, and greater numbers of lane exceedences than the voice system. However, the voice system was associated with substantially longer and more frequent glances away from the road scene to a containing destination information. Performance differences between younger and older test participants tended to be reduced with the voice system. Regardless of system, the destination entry task took substantially longer to complete than 10-digit cellular telephone dialing or radio tuning to a specific frequency. Voice recognition technology appears to be a viable alternative to manual destination entry while driving but other subtle safety issues remain and are discussed.

Other Links: Search News articles on cell phone use while driving Cell phones may increase crash risk 38%

Governors Highway Safety Association

Highway Safety Law Charts - View charts of applicable laws in all U.S. states and territories

Highway Safety Laws by State

Cell Phone and Texting Laws by State An Education on Common Objections to Cell Phone Legislation

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles Governor's Traffic Safety Committee: Car Cell Phones on the Road

Seattle Despite danger, 90 percent talk on cell phones


Cell Phone Use While Driving Increases Crash Risk

Cell Phone Use While Driving Ups Crash Risk - Study Shows Risk Similar for Handheld and Hands-Free Phones

Study: Hands-Free Headsets Don't Improve Driving Safety

Not finding what you are looking for?

The ARC Network is continually searching the Internet and other data sources to bring you the most accurate and fresh data available. As we continually build this area of our web site we would like to hear your suggestions for research topics and helpful web site links. Simply contact us via email or phone and we will review your suggestions.

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