Driver distraction in commercial vehicle operations.

Olson, R.L. Hanowski, R.J. Hickman, J.S. & Bocanegra, J.

This study investigated the impact of driver distraction in commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations. Data from two earlier naturalistic studies were combined to create a data set of 203 CMV drivers and 55 trucks from seven trucking fleets operating at 16 locations. A total of 4,452 safety-critical events (i.e., crashes, near-crashes, crash-relevant conflicts, and unintentional lane deviations) were identified in the data set, along with 19,888 baseline (uneventful, routine driving) epochs. Data analyses included odds ratio calculations and population attributable risk estimates. Key findings were that drivers were engaged in non-driving related tasks in 71 percent of crashes, 46 percent of near-crashes, and 60 percent of all safety-critical events. Also, performing highly complex tasks while driving lead to a significant increase in risk. Eye glance analyses examined driver eye location while performing tasks while operating a CMV. Tasks associated with high odds ratios (increased risk) were also associated with high eyes off forward road times. This suggests that tasks that draw the driver’s visual attention away from the forward roadway should be minimized or avoided. Based on the results of the analyses, a number of recommendations are presented that may help address the issue of driver distraction in CMV operations. (Author/publisher)


20091437 ST [electronic version only]

Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Transportation DOT, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA, 2009, XXVII + 255 p., ref.; FMCSA-RRR-09-042

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