Thursday, May 18, 2017

Distracted Driving among Teens: What We Know about It and How to Prevent It

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
12:00 - 2:00 PM

Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. (1) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015 "Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes." (2) According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distraction was a factor in 58 percent of 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. (3) Distracted driving includes activities such as using a cell phone, texting, and eating while driving. Using in-vehicle technologies like navigation systems or stereos, can also be a source of distraction. Engaging in any of these activities while driving poses a crash risk, endangering the driver, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as other drivers. (2)

In this webinar, Dr. Ian Reagan of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) will explain what IIHS knows about distracted driving as a contributing factor in traffic collisions, contrasting teenage and older drivers throughout to underscore teens' over-representation in these crashes. The topics he will address include the prevalence of distraction in police-reported crash data and the suspect quality of these data. His presentation will conclude with a summary of research about the prevalence and crash risk of specific distracted driving behaviors identified in observational studies. Dr. Dennis Thomas of Dunlap and Associates, Inc. will review recent research studies that explored higher order skill development in teen drivers to increase their safety on the roadway. These studies all involved training young drivers to either better manage their glances at the roadway or anticipate hazards. The results focus on behavioral changes observed on live roadways or through analyses of crashes after exposure to the training.

National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2017, March). Distracted Driving 2015. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 381). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Facts and Statistics. [cited 2016 Feb 23]; Available from:
Distraction and Teen Crashes: Even Worse than We Thought. (March 25, 2015). AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Ian Reagan, Ph.D. - Dr. Reagan is a senior research scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses - deaths, injuries and property damage - from motor vehicle crashes. As a human factors researcher, Dr. Reagan studies how drivers use and adapt to technology in their cars. Since joining IIHS in 2012, Dr. Reagan has conducted research on such topics as crash avoidance technologies and driver distraction. Previously, he worked for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a research psychologist. Dr. Reagan received a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in psychology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Dennis Thomas, Ph.D. - Dr. Thomas's professional experience has encompassed a wide range of topics, but has been primarily focused on transportation safety. Dr. Thomas is the Vice President of Dunlap and Associates, Inc., a consulting firm which provides research and consulting services to government, industry and the legal profession, specializing in applying human factors, systems analysis and risk management techniques to assist clients in understanding and solving problems. Within the field of transportation safety, Dr. Thomas has worked on the development and evaluation of a number of safety programs for passenger vehicle drivers, commercial vehicle drivers, and pedestrians/bicyclists. He has conducted extensive nationwide reviews of traditional driver education programs, online driver education, and advanced driver education for teens. He has also evaluated state-of-the-art computer-based training programs aimed at teaching teens how to manage their glances or to anticipate potentially hazardous driving situations.