Does Built Environment Affect the Frequency and Severity of Vehicle Crashes Caused by Distracted Driving: An Empirical Evidence from Ohio

Abstract: This study evaluates the influences of built environment on the frequency and severity of vehicle crashes with focuses on a comparative analysis between the crashes caused by distracted driving and non-distracted driving. Using a comprehensive dataset with 1.4 million crash records in Ohio for the period 2013 – 2017 as an example, the relationships between built environments and the frequency and severity of vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving were examined using negative binomial regression and generalized order logit regression methods. Our study reveals that built environments, such as the length of a roadway segment, number of lanes, the location of the road (being in an urban area) have positive associations with crash frequencies. Conversely, other road features, such as median and a shoulder with asphalt pavement were found to have negative associations with crash frequencies caused by distracted driving. The outcomes of severity analysis confirm that distracted driving related crashes tend to be more severe than non-distracted driving related crashes in certain road environments. In particular, vehicle crashes caused by distracted driving were found to be more severe if the accident occurs at work zones or on interstate highways. On the other hand, roundabout was confirmed to be effective in reducing crash severities in general, but with a more significant effect on mitigating the severity of DD related crashes.

Authors: Zhenhua Chen, Youngbin Lym

Date: Summer 2018

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