Research Associate Nan Zhai presented findings at the 3rd International Conference on Road Safety and Simulation in Indianapolis on September 14. His presentation, entitled The Relationship Between Drivers’ Reported Frequency of Cell Phone Use and Actual and Self Reported Highway Behavior, represented a sub-analysis of broader research on driver distraction occurring at the MIT AgeLab. Utilizing the instrumented Volvo XC 90, participants’ changes in driving behavior while using cell phones were recorded, including self-reported effects.
Younger drivers, drivers with greater mileage in the last year and drivers not retired reported more cell phone use while driving. Out of cohorts of people in their 20’s 40’s and 60’s, Of those reporting rare cell phone use while driving, 42.1% were between 60 and 69 years of age. Age was not a confounding factor in the relationship between driving performance and cell phone users, as the same pattern was found across age groups: cell phone users drove faster, changed lanes more frequently, spent more time in the left lane and had performed hard braking maneuvers. Users also had a greater acceptance of faster, more aggressive driving behaviors.