Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Distracted Driving

A classic case of a serious externality:
According to a new study published in Public Health Reports, the rate of distracted driving-related fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled went up from 116.1 in 2005 to 168.6 in 2010 for pedestrians and from 18.7 in 2005 to 24.6 in 2010 among bicyclists. However, distracted driving-related deaths among motorists decreased over the same time period — a trend that study authors said mirrored overall motor vehicle fatalities and may be attributed to safer vehicles. Unfortunately, cyclists and pedestrians don’t have such protection on the road. In fact, distracted drivers were 1.6 times as likely as nondistracted drivers to mortally hit a pedestrian at marked crosswalks and about three times as likely to hit a pedestrian while on a road shoulder.
Much as I am terrified by the movements of pedestrians, I do think that this statistic makes it clear that distracted driving leads problems.  Even hands free devices have had mixed success with making drivers safer while talking.

It seems a classic case where regulation would be useful.  Maybe cell phones should stop working in a moving vehicle? 

1 comment:

  1. It seems a public health specialist in New Zealand has also suggested stopping cell phones from working in moving vehicles.

    (Here's the blog post where I read about that: http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2013/10/cars-phones-and-dirigiste-policy.html)