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					    Impaired and Distracted
Driving by South Dakota Youth

                 Lee Axdahl
        Accident Records Supervisor
    South Dakota Office of Highway Safety
Vehicles have many safety features…

  Seatbelt and shoulder straps
  Padded dashboards
  Safety glass
  Anti-locking brakes, and
  Collapsible steering columns …but…
Recent years have seen new driving

  Increased traffic congestion on our roads …
  Many new technologies are now available for
   use in automobiles …
  One technology particularly surrounded by
   debate is the cell phone (and MP3 players) …
  Generally Accepted Distracted
       Driving Realities…
Multitasking results in multiple tasks
 competing for a driver’s attentional
 resources …and…

Multitasking while driving results in less
 efficient visual search, slower reaction
 times, and fewer and shorter eye fixations.

                                 George Mason University Study
In Other Words…
Add this to the list and trouble is
bound to be around the corner….
  Is That The Only Problem?
• Another factor is the inability of most
  young drivers to adequately assess and
  respond to risk. Why?
• The frontal brain lobe is responsible for
  cognitive functions that control life-saving
  behavior such as hazard anticipation and
  risk management. And?
• Brain imaging studies show this lobe does
  not fully develop until drivers are 25.
Or as Homer Simpson would say:
  A South Dakota Example…

• …the driver lost control of the vehicle, entered the east
  ditch, crossed the fence line and then rolled multiple
  times. The driver, who was deceased at the scene, was
  located outside the vehicle. The crash is believed to
  have occurred numerous hours before discovery.

• The driver was last seen at approximately 10:30 PM the
  night before….

• 609124 – 16 Year Old Male

• Inexperience behind the wheel is the
  leading cause of teenage crashes…

  South Dakota Example #2…

• …the right rear tire blew out and the driver lost control.
  Vehicle began to slide sideways crossing the oncoming
  lane of traffic and entering the north ditch rolling two

• Back seat passenger was ejected out the back window
  sustaining fatal injuries…

• 613662 – 18 Year Old Male

• Approximately two thirds of teens killed in
  automobile crashes are not wearing
  South Dakota Example #3…

• …Vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed
  attempting to jump the vehicle on a drainage dip in the
  roadway. Vehicle hit the dip and became airborne. The
  driver lost control and swerved to miss a vehicle at the
  stop sign.

• …vehicle struck a tree and came to rest on its
  roof…driver was partially ejected and died at the

• 614245 - 16 Year Old Male

• 16 Year Olds have higher crash rates than
  drivers of any other age.

  South Dakota Example #4…

• Vehicle traveling in excess of posted speed limit and
  over steered the curve causing vehicle to skid and then
  roll three times along the drainage ditch…vehicle then
  struck the bottom of the drainage ditch…

• …driver was ejected from the vehicle and found
  approximately 80 feet from the roadway…

• 701708 – 19 Year Old Male

• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading
  cause of death for teenagers.

  South Dakota Example #5…

• …driver drifted off the road into the west ditch for an
  unknown reason. As unit entered the ditch it collided
  with a delineator post. After the collision with the post,
  the driver of the vehicle attempted to bring the unit back
  onto the roadway and overcorrected, causing her to lose
  control and roll three times, ejecting both occupants…

  709398 – 16 Year Old Female Killed
           17 Year Old Male Killed

• Statistics conclude that 16 & 17 year old
  driver death rates increase with each
  additional passenger.

                    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
    South Dakota Teenagers:
Safety Equipment Usage By Drivers Killed
  Or Injured In Motor Vehicle Crashes
  South Dakota Teenagers:
Is The “No Drinking & Driving Lesson”
           Being Learned?
  South Dakota Teenagers:
Not bad…the last three years are
below the 13 year fatality average!
   South Dakota Teenagers:
But … it’s still “them” versus “us” and the
       picture isn’t encouraging!
   South Dakota Teenagers:
 And the year to year averages are not
in drastic flux … lessons being learned?


 You Think That’s Bad?

• Don’t even ask about teenagers on
    South Dakota Teenagers:
  Percent Motorcycle Licenses versus
Percent Fatal & Injury Motorcycle Crashes
South Dakota Teenagers:
Doing their best to stay average!

  Recarte & Nunes Research
• Published in March, 2000 by the American
  Psychological Association
• Recorded the eye movements of drivers
  while they performed verbal and spatial-
  visual tasks
• Also measured how often each driver
  checked his or her side and rear mirrors
  and the speedometer
• During visual-verbal tasks unrelated to
  driving, the driver fixated on certain points
  longer and glanced less frequently at
  his/her mirrors and dashboard instruments

• During visual-verbal tasks, “the driver’s
  eye freezes up and the visual inspection
  window decreases, affecting peripheral
  vision and perception of the environment”
When cognitively complex tasks are
performed while driving, the “visual inspection
window” decreases between 25-40%
horizontally, and 40-60% vertically.

Technical term for the phenomena…


• Therefore, the study finds, that the
  potential of using a cell phone is one thing
  (visual task)…add an in-depth
  conversation requiring considerable
  mental effort (verbal task) and an already
  risky behavior is compounded
 2002 George Mason University
    Distracted Driving Study:

• Examine the nature and scope of the
  distracted driving issue

• To identify and develop strategies that
  might help minimize distracted driving
George Mason University Study

  The extent of the distracted driving problem
   is not clearly defined, validated, or
   determined and terminology is inconsistent

  It is not clear how specific behaviors affect
   driving capacities differently in magnitude
   or effect
South Dakota Teen Driver
Contributing Factors To Crashes
South Dakota Teen Driver
Contributing Factors To Crashes
South Dakota Teen Driver
Contributing Factors To Crashes
       South Dakota Tasks?
• Define “distracted driving” for consistency
     • As it applies to all drivers?
     • As it applies to SDCL?
     • As it applies to enforcement?
• Categorize “distracted driving” incidents to
  validate extent of problem
     • Cell Phone related?
     • MP3, etc… related?
     • Traffic related?
       South Dakota Tasks?
• Determine methods to educate drivers
     • Remedial education for existing drivers?
     • Inclusion in Driver’s Education program?
     • Major media reinforcement

• Legislative or Policy
     • Proposed legislation should be supported by
       current research
     • The fact that “Distracted Driving” is not an offense
       inhibits the ability for enforcement to “cite”

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