Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Adv Automob Eng
Literature has suggested that talking and driving constitutes a dual task that compromises the ability of driverâ�?�?s ability to maneuver the vehicle safely, and causes increased cognitive distraction and reduced situation awareness. Recent handsets with touch screens, as well as more advanced features including multimedia, and mobile applications (apps), exacerbate these problems. Considering the potential impact of phone use on driving safety, concerns have been raised about how texting, app use, and listening to music affect pedestrian safety. The current research attempts to investigate the effects of phone use (talking, texting, and listening to music) on the street-crossing behaviors of pedestrians. A controlled field study using video cameras was conducted. In the study, pedestrians crossing behaviors (e.g., crossing time, sudden stops, looking both ways before crossing, disobeying traffic signals), were recorded/ observed. Pedestrians were classified into two groups: Experimental group (talking, texting, listening to music) and control group (no phone use). Pedestriansâ�?�? inattentional blindness was also examined by evaluating whether they saw an unusual object (i.e., a clown) nearby. The personal attributes and handset characteristics (e.g., unlimited internet access, screen size, and smartphone) were used as independent variables. The results indicate that the proportions of unsafe crossing behaviors (e.g., sudden stops, disobeying traffic signals, not looking both ways before crossing) were higher among distracted individuals and more pronounced among those using instant-messaging apps. These instant-message app users were the least likely to see the clown, and music listeners were the least likely to hear the horn that the clown was honking. Contributing factors to unsafe behaviors include being a student, having a phone screen of 5 inch or larger, and having un-limited third-generation internet access.