Texting while driving seems to be a widespread behavior, which has been associated with a non-negligible proportion of road accidents, especially among younger drivers. The impairment of the driver’s behavior and the related risks may be increasing on motorways, taken into consideration the fact that there are high vehicle speeds and the necessary reaction time is decreased. This research aims at investigating the impact of texting on young drivers’ behavior and safety on motorways. For this reason, a driving simulator experiment was carried out, in which 34 young participants drove in different driving scenarios (moderate/high traffic, good/rainy weather). Lognormal regression methods were used to investigate the influence of text messaging as well as various other parameters on the mean speed and the mean headway. Moreover, binary logistic methods were used to investigate the influence of texting and other parameters on the probability of an accident. Results suggest that texting leads to statistically significant decrease of the mean speed and to increased headway in normal and in specific traffic and weather conditions on motorways, as drivers appear to produce compensatory behavior while texting. Furthermore, texting leads to increased accident probability, probably due to longer reaction time of the driver at unexpected incidents. Analyzing the driving performance of those who text while driving may lead to the identification of measures for improving their driving performance such as restrictive measures, training and licensing, and information campaigns.
|Tags||driver behaviour, driver distraction, driving simulator, motorways, statistical modelling|