Dialling, texting, and reading in real world driving: When do drivers choose to use mobile phones?
Conference contribution, 2013
Mobile phone use is the most debated and studied form of driver distraction. Naturalistic driving
studies have shown that the risk of being involved in a near-crash or crash increases during manual
and visual interaction with a mobile phone (e.g., when texting or dialling), while just talking on a
mobile phone seems neutral or may even have a protective effect. Previous studies involving focus
groups and questionnaires present conflicting results about the strategies that drivers use to decide
when to engage in mobile phone use. The aim of this study is to analyse naturalistic driving data to
determine when drivers decide to engage or disengage in dialling, texting or reading text messages.
Video- , map-, and vehicle-data from approximately 300 passenger car trips, in average 15 minutes
long, were searched for sequences involving mobile phone use. All sequences, as well as, driving
prior to each initiation of mobile phone use, were coded and analysed. Results show that drivers
adapt mobile phone use both to the road characteristics and to the presence of other road users.
This adaptation includes both proactive behaviour, such as overtaking prior to dialling a number, and
reactive behaviour, such as delaying reading a text message until the vehicle exits a curve and enters
a straight road segment.