Nevin Manimala Statistics

The utility of telematics data for estimating the prevalence of driver handheld cellphone use, 2019-2022

J Safety Res. 2024 Jun;89:299-305. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2024.04.003. Epub 2024 May 4.


INTRODUCTION: Driver distraction from handheld cellphone use contributes to fatal crashes every year but is underreported in terms of the proportion of crashes attributed to any distraction or cellphone use specifically. Existing methods to estimate the prevalence of cellphone distractions are also limited (e.g., observing drivers stopped at intersections, when crash risk is low). Our study used data from Cambridge Mobile Telematics to estimate the prevalence of drivers’ handheld calls and cellphone manipulation while driving, with “cellphone motion” based on movement recorded by the phones’ gyroscopes used as a surrogate for manipulation.

METHOD: We compared the telematics measures with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s roadside observations of driver electronic device use, and logistic regression tested relationships between regional, legislative, and temporal factors and the odds of cellphone behaviors occurring on a trip or at a given point in time.

RESULTS: Results showed 3.5% of trips included at least one handheld phone call and 33.3% included at least an instance of cellphone motion, with handheld calls occurring during 0.78% of overall trip duration and cellphone motion during 2.4% of trip duration.

CONCLUSIONS: Correspondence between trends in cellphone distractions across regional, legislative, and temporal factors suggest telematics data have considerable utility and appear to complement existing datasets.

PMID:38858053 | DOI:10.1016/j.jsr.2024.04.003

By Nevin Manimala

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