Multitasking additional-to-driving: Prevalence, structure, and associated risk in SHRP2 naturalistic driving data
Journal article, 2020
This paper 1) analyzes the extent to which drivers engage in multitasking additional-to-driving (MAD) under various conditions, 2) specifies odds ratios (ORs) of crashing associated with MAD, and 3) explores the structure of MAD.
Data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP2 NDS) was analyzed to quantify the prevalence of MAD in normal driving as well as in safety-critical events of various severity level and compute point estimates and confidence intervals for the corresponding odds ratios estimating the risk associated with MAD compared to no task engagement. Sensitivity analysis in which secondary tasks were re-defined by grouping similar tasks was performed to investigate the extent to which ORs are affected by the specific task definitions in SHRP2. A novel visual representation of multitasking was developed to show which secondary tasks co-occur frequently and which ones do not.
MAD occurs in 11 % of control driving segments, 22 % of crashes and near-crashes (CNC), 26 % of Level 1–3 crashes and 39 % of rear-end striking crashes, and 9 %, 16 %, 17 % and 28 % respectively for the same event types if MAD is defined in terms of general task groups. The most common co-occurrences of secondary tasks vary substantially among event types; for example, “Passenger in adjacent seat – interaction” and “Other non-specific internal eye glance” tend to co-occur in CNC but tend not to co-occur in control driving segments. The odds ratios of MAD using SHRP2 task definitions compared to driving without any secondary task and the corresponding 95 % confidence intervals are 2.38 (2.17–2.61) for CNC, 3.72 (3.11–4.45) for Level 1–3 crashes and 8.48 (5.11–14.07) for rear-end striking crashes. The corresponding ORs using general task groups to define MAD are slightly lower at 2.00 (1.80–2.21) for CNC, 3.03 (2.48–3.69) for Level 1–3 crashes and 6.94 (4.04–11.94) for rear-end striking crashes.
The number of secondary tasks that the drivers were engaged in differs substantially for different event types. A graphical representation was presented that allows mapping task prevalence and co-occurrence within an event type as well as a comparison between different event types. The ORs of MAD indicate an elevated risk for all safety-critical events, with the greatest increase in the risk of rear-end striking crashes. The results are similar independently of whether secondary tasks are defined according to SHRP2 or general task groups. The results confirm that the reduction of driving performance from MAD observed in simulator studies is manifested in real-world crashes as well.