home   /   centre for automotive safety research   /   Publications   /   List   /   Details

Publication Details

TitleDistracted driving: Prevalence and motivations..
AuthorsEdwards SA, Wundersitz LN
AbstractThis study is a selective review of recent international literature concerning the prevalence of distracted driving and motivations underpinning this behaviour. Distracted driving data from naturalistic observation, roadside observation, self-report studies and crash data were examined. The reviewed studies suggested that any distraction that takes the driverís eyes from the forward roadway significantly increases the risk of having a crash, as do cognitive distractions, including emotional distress. Consequently, many different types of distracted driving behaviours need to be considered in addition to mobile phone use with other distracted driving behaviours shown to be as prevalent, or more prevalent, than mobile phone use. The literature indicated drivers of all ages continue to engage in distracting behaviours despite their self-reported awareness or perceptions of the associated dangers and their increased crash risk, with the immediate benefits of engaging in a distracted driving behaviour viewed as outweighing the risks. Additionally, some distracted drivers attempt to compensate for their distracted driving behaviour or to conceal their behaviour, which increases their level of distraction and may exacerbate the level of risk (e.g. hiding their mobile phone below the window so it cannot be seen by police). This review highlighted the dangers associated with hands-free phone use while driving, and the risk that laws abolishing only hand-held phone may give drivers a false sense of security when engaging in this behaviour. A number of motivational themes underpinning distracted driving were identified, but these were focused mainly on mobile phone use, which included perceived superiority of oneís own driving ability, perceived social norms and obligations to respond to social contact, the importance placed on the contact, efficient use of time, sharing information, behaviours being habitual, and perceived low demand traffic conditions. Further research is needed to understand the motivations underlying a wider array of distracted driving behaviours that are not limited to mobile phone use.
Report NumberCASR160
PublisherCentre for Automotive Safety Research
Publisher CityAdelaide
SponsorMotor Accident Commission
Page Count23

Edwards SA, Wundersitz LN (2019). Distracted driving: Prevalence and motivations.. (CASR160). Adelaide: Centre for Automotive Safety Research.

Files Available for Download
CASR160.pdfFinal report in PDF format