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Volume 14: Reducing Crashes Involving Drowsy and Distracted Drivers

50% Higher Death and Injury Rates for Distracted Drivers

The Problem

Distracted drivers are 50 percent more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a crash than attentive drivers, and those who fall asleep are more than twice as likely to be seriously injured or killed. Some 25 to 30 percent of all motor vehicle crashes are caused by drivers who are distracted, drowsy or fatigued, or whose minds are on something other than their driving, such as talking on a cell phone or applying makeup.

Analyses show that drivers under 20 are more prone to be distracted at the time of their crash, There is no way to objectively determine whether someone is “too drowsy” or “too distracted” to drive. So, in addition to roadway improvements, a significant part of the challenge to reduce crashes is changing driver behavior. This is reflected in the Objectives identified for this emphasis area. The Strategies listed emphasize low-cost, short-term safety improvements for reducing collisions due to distracted and drowsy drivers.

Objectives

  • Make roadways safer for drowsy and distracted drivers.
  • Provide safe stopping and resting areas.
  • Increase awareness of the risks of drowsy and distracted driving.
  • Implement programs that target populations at increased risk of drowsy or distracted drivers.

Download this guide: http://trb.org/publications/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_500v14.pdf

NCHRP 500-14

Drowsy and Distracted Drivers

The true magnitude of this problem may be greater than reported. One recent study found that nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.

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Related publications

Drowsy and Distracted Drivers One-Pager

Self Assessment Tool

Integrated Safety Management Process