Stop Distraction On Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety

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Stop Distraction On Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety

  1. 1. 1The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgThe National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) and FocusDriven are pleased to announce the launch of a new joint campaigneffort, Stop Distraction On Red.Our collaboration aims to highlight the dangers of distracted driving and red-light running — two serious driving epidemics thatsignificantly and negatively affect the safety of our roads and highways. We are excited to bring our organizations together toaddress these important road safety issues, raise awareness about how they correlate and ultimately improve driver behavior.Red-light running remains the number one cause of urban crashes in the United States, according to the Insurance Institutefor Highway Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 8,700 traffic deathsin 2009 resulted from intersection-related traffic collisions and red-light runners injure 165,000 people annually. Distractedbehavior on our roadways is on the rise, and it greatly increases the likelihood of a driver recklessly running a red light.The National Safety Council estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involve drivers distracted by cell phone use, noting thatdrivers talking on a cell phone are four times more likely to be involved in a collision. Distracted driving behavior is claiminglives. In 2009 alone, an estimated 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle collisions involving driversdistracted by cell phones, according to NHTSA.To kick off the partnership between our organizations, we’ve conducted a joint analysis that takes a close look at how distracteddriving leads to red-light running. The results show just how often distracted drivers are running red lights — and endangeringeveryone who shares the roadways.Both of our families have been personally affected by red-light running and distracted driving, so we understand the importanceof raising awareness about these safety issues. Melissa lost her husband when a red-light runner blew through an intersection,t-boning the passenger side of the car he was in. She was nine months pregnant with their daughter at the time. On the day ofher college graduation, Jacy lost her parents in a red-light running collision caused by a driver distracted by a cell phone. Jacy,who was also in the vehicle, sustained, and still suffers from, crash-related injuries.Distracted driving and red-light running changed our lives and robbed us of our loved ones. We truly hope this campaign helpsdrivers across the country better understand just how deadly distracted driving and running red lights can be.Our ultimate goal is to make our roads safer for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Safer driving practices can helpsave lives. Together we can raise awareness and positively change driver behavior, making our communities safer for everyone.Sincerely,Melissa Wandall Jacy GoodPresident Board Member and Survivor AdvocateNational Coalition for Safer Roads FocusDrivenA MESSAGE FROM NCSRAND FOCUSDRIVEN
  2. 2. 2The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgWhile most people acknowledge that distracted driving is dangerous, there has been little research into its effects on red-light running. Red-light violations are a serious public safety hazard that put the lives of drivers, pedestrians and others who share the road at risk. This analysisis the first of its kind to quantify the dangers of distracted driving as it relates to intersection safety.Stop Distraction on Red: The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection Safety analyzed a sample of 19 communities across the United States,looking at 118 intersections with red-light safety cameras over a three-month period. The analysis found that 12 percent of all violations duringthis period involved distracted driving. Using the numbers from this sample, it is projected that more than 7.3 million red-light violations in2012 involved distracted behavior. Using the same formula from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the number of red-light violationscaused by distracted driving were estimated for each state.The analysis also examines the effect of distracted driving legislation on intersection violations by comparing the sample communities thathave cell phone bans with those that do not. Less than 10 percent of red-light violations involved distracted driving in communities thathave strict laws against distracted driving — compared to more than 16 percent in communities that do not. These laws prove to be a strongdeterrent against distracted driving.Research indicates that red-light safety cameras are improving driver behavior when it comes to intersection safety. Now the safety camerasare also showing us how and why people are running red lights. All of the findings point to a clear conclusion: distracted driving increasesred-light running and puts lives at risk. Fewer distractions on the road will ultimately save lives.EXECUTIVESUMMARY
  3. 3. 3The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgThrough the sample analysis, it hasbeen estimated that more than 7.3million red-light violations in theUnited States involved distracteddriving in 2012. The analysis found that12 percent of the red-light violationsacross the 118 intersections studied inArizona, California and Colorado couldbe attributed to at least one type ofdistracted driving behavior. Stemmingfrom the findings, a formula determiningthe number of signalized intersectionsin a given population was used to projecthow often distracted driving contributedto violations taking place at intersectionsacross the country.TOPLINEFINDINGSCommunities Intersections Months19ANALYSISPARAMETERSFINDINGSPROJECTEDNATIONALIMPACT118 35,808Total Red-light Violations704Red-light Violations InvolvingDistracted Driving310,538Intersections in U.S.12%of Violationsin SampleCaused byDistractedDriving7.3 MILLIONRed-light ViolationsCaused by Distrated Drivingin 2012 Across the U.S.
  4. 4. 4The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgAlthough many people associate distracteddriving with cell phone use, distractedbehavior comes in many different forms.This fact was reinforced when 5,808red-light violations were analyzed revealingseveral categories of distraction that tookthe drivers’ attention away from the road.These categories include cell phone use,looking away, drinking/eating and smoking.As expected, a significant cause ofdistraction was cell phone use (bothhandheld and hands-free), which comprised39.3 percent of the distracted behaviordocumented in the sample. Another leadingcause of distraction was looking away, at43.2 percent, which included drivers whowere looking down or clearly away from theroad. It is important to note that the lookingaway category did not include anyone whowas looking left or right to make a turn.Instead, these photos were coded underno distraction.CONTRIBUTORSTO DISTRACTEDDRIVINGEyes ClosedSmokingDrinking or EatingApplying MakeupReading17.5%43.2%LookingAwayOther39.3%Cell PhoneUse*Ranked in order of prevalence
  5. 5. 5The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgIn an effort to determine the effectivenessof banning cell phone use while driving,we compared the laws of each state inthe sample. California has the strictestlaws against cell phone use while driving,whereas Colorado has more lenient lawsand Arizona has no statewide regulations.California’s state legislature has instituteda ban on all handheld cell phone usewhile operating a motor vehicle. The stateof Colorado has banned texting for alldrivers and cell phone use altogether fordrivers under the age of 18, but has not yetregulated overall cell phone use for adults.Arizona has no statewide regulations onthe use of cell phones, however the city ofTucson has banned texting.It can be inferred that strict cell phonelegislation has an impact on reducing theprevalence of distracted driving. In theCalifornia communities analyzed, only 9.7percent of intersection violations involveddistracted driving. The Arizona and Coloradocommunities show 16.4 percent of red-lightviolations involved distracted behavior. Thissuggests that strict cell phone bans reducethe risk of distracted driving by nearly 7percentage points.IMPACT OFBANS ON CELLPHONE USEWHILE DRIVINGTotal ViolationsDistracted Driving ViolationsLaws in Place(California)3,741364Violations Causedby Distracted Driving9.7%No Laws in Place(Arizona & Colorado)2,067340Violations Causedby Distracted Driving16.4%Cell Phone Bans Reduce Risk ofDistracted Driving By Nearly 7%
  6. 6. 6The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgThe findings of the sample analysis were used to estimate the number of intersectionviolations that involved distracted driving at the state level in 2012. Below areprojections for the number of red-light violations caused by distracted driving in all50 states and the District of Columbia.DISTRACTEDDRIVING BYSTATEINTERSECTION VIOLATIONS INVOLVING DISTRACTED DRIVING IN 2012Alabama 112,932Alaska 16,776Arizona 151,012Arkansas 68,892California 880,156Colorado 118,812Connecticut 84,440District of Columbia 14,224Florida 444,188Georgia 28,888Hawaii 32,132Idaho 37,044Illinois 303,144Indiana 153,188Iowa 71,964Kansas 67,407Kentucky 102,512Louisiana 107,096Maine 31,376Maryland 136,416Massachusetts 154,700Michigan 233,516Minnesota 125,312Mississippi 70,136Missouri 141,496Montana 23,364Nebraska 43,140Nevada 63,812New Hampshire 31,092New Jersey 207,716New Mexico 48,644New York 457,820North Carolina 225,272North Dakota 15,900Ohio 272,572Oklahoma 88,620Oregon 90,152Pennsylvania 300, 096Rhode Island 24,876South Carolina 109,268South Dakota 19,232Tennessee 149,928Texas 594,092Utah 65,300Vermont 14,788Virginia 189,028Washington 158,884West Virginia 43,780Wisconsin 134,360Wyoming 13,324
  7. 7. 7The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgData was collected from a three-month sample(June – August 2012) of 118 American TrafficSolutions red-light safety cameras located in19 communities where cameras capture facialrecognition. The data was then analyzed todetermine the total number of violations thatinvolved distracted driving. Distractions were codedinto several categories, including cell phone use,looking away, eating/drinking, smoking, reading,eyes closed and applying makeup. All violations thatdid not involve distracted behavior were coded as nodistraction. It is important to note that the lookingaway category did not include anyone who waslooking left or right to make a turn. Instead, thesephotos were coded under no distraction.To determine the national-level projection, aproportion was set up comparing the total numberof red-light violations (5,808) in the sample tothe number of intersections (118) in the sample.This proportion was then used to project thetotal number of red-light violations for thesame three-month period in the United States(15,284,786) based on population size. (The Instituteof Transportation Engineers employs a ratio of onesignalized intersection for every 1,000 people todetermine the number of these intersections in agiven area. This proportion was used in conjunctionwith 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population counts todetermine the number of signalized intersectionsacross the United States [310,538].) The percentageof distracted driving-related violations (12 percent)determined from the sample was then applied tothe total number of violations across the UnitedStates (15,284,786) to project how many involveddistracted driving across a three-month period(1,834,174). This number was multiplied by fourto project the number of intersection violationsattributed to distracted driving in 2012 (7,336,697).The same formula was used to project the numberof intersection violations involving distracted drivingin all 50 states and the District of Columbia basedon population size.METHODOLOGYDistracted driving laws were researched for each state included in thesample to determine if they had any impact on violation counts.Communities in the sample include:Arizona:MesaScottsdaleTucsonPima CountyColorado:BoulderCherry Hills VillageCommerce CityGreenwood VillageLittletonLone TreePuebloCalifornia:CapitolaCathedral CityCerritosCovinaDavisMillbraeSan DiegoSouth San Francisco
  8. 8. 8The Effects of Distracted Driving on Intersection SafetyStopDistractionOnRed.orgFocusDriven and the National Coalition for Safer Roads have partnered to launch a new multimedia campaigneffort, Stop Distraction on Red, to raise awareness about distracted driving and intersection safety. The campaigneffort is led by NCSR President Melissa Wandall and FocusDriven Board Member and Survivor Advocate JacyGood – two spokespeople who have been personally impacted by the dangers of red-light running and distracteddriving. Campaign elements include an infographic based on study findings, video of distracted red-light runningand related statistics, media appearances and opportunities for partner collaborations.Visit StopDistractionOnRed.org for more information.The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating howred-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior. NCSR brings together policymakers, community leadersand concerned citizens in support of red-light safety cameras, advocating for their use in cities and communitiesacross the country. NCSR is proud to advocate on behalf of the traffic safety technology industry to changereckless driver behavior, stop red-light running and save lives. NCSR’s coalition partners include the NationalSafety Council; Safe Kids USA; Child Safety Network; National Organizations for Youth Safety; America Walks;and Red Means Stop, as well as numerous police departments, medical professionals, safety advocates, industryleaders, community leaders and concerned citizens.For more information, visit NCSRsafety.org, follow @SaferRoadsUSA on Twitter and on Facebook atfacebook.com/SaferRoadsUSA.Advocates for Cell-Free Driving (focusdriven.org) is a nonprofit advocacy organization for victims of motor vehiclecrashes involving drivers using cell phones. FocusDriven supports victims of cell phone distracted driving andfamilies of victims. Its goal is to increase public awareness on the dangers of cell phone distracted driving byputting a human face on the disastrous impact of the behavior, in order to promote corresponding public policies,programs and personal responsibility.

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