Distracted Driver Speeds Around Work ZonesAuthor/Presenter: Tymvios, Nicholas; Oosthuysen, Scott
With technology more accessible and ubiquitous, drivers have an ever increasing number of methods with which to be distracted from the task of driving. In addition to more traditional distraction sources of eating/drinking, applying makeup and reaching for objects in the vehicle, more recent sources of distraction include cell phone use for calls and texting. According to the literature, drivers will sometimes compensate for these actions while driving, through keeping a distance between vehicles or slowing down, but these measures are not always successful. In addition, the presence of work zones on the road, especially maintenance work zones that change on a day-to-day basis add an additional level of difficulty through which drivers need to navigate. This research study investigated the variability in vehicle speeds around construction work zones, and matched these speeds with driver behavior. Drivers were filmed to determine if they were distracted or not, and matched their vehicle actions and speeds as they were passing through work zones. To measure speeds, the NC-200 portable traffic analyzers were used, and video cameras were used for filming. Information gathered from vehicle speeds showed that distracted drivers had no variability in speeds compared to non-distracted drivers. Although the authors understand that not all forms of distraction can be eliminated, some more evident sources of distractions can be restricted in an attempt to reduce vehicle accidents that cause harm to drivers, the public, and road construction crews.