Whether due to habitual behaviors or immediate deliberate decision-making, drivers engage in risky behaviors that shift attention away from the primary tasks of driving, increasing the likelihood of crashes. Traffic Safety Facts (NHTSA 2018) reported that 37,133 people were killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2017. Of these fatalities, 3,166 were in distraction-affected crashes, or 8.5% of total fatalities. The occurrence of distracted driving behaviors can be strongly influenced by features of the external world through which the person is driving. Some important features in this world are built structures, and it would be useful to determine the relationships between the presence, absence, location, or design of different built structures and the occurrence of distracted driving.
The objective of this research was to develop and test a conceptual safety framework for evaluating the association between distracted driver behaviors and roadway and roadside infrastructure.