Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Analysis of naturalistic driving videos of fleet services drivers to estimate driver error and potentially distracting behaviors as risk factors for rear-end versus angle crashes

Harland, K.K.; Carney, C.; McGehee, D.


Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence and odds of fleet driver errors and potentially distracting behaviors just prior to rear-end versus angle crashes.

Methods: Analysis of naturalistic driving videos among fleet services drivers for errors and potentially distracting behaviors occurring in the 6 s before crash impact. Categorical variables were examined using the Pearson's chi-square test, and continuous variables, such as eyes-off-road time, were compared using the Student's t-test. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of a driver error or potentially distracting behavior being present in the seconds before rear-end versus angle crashes.

Results: Of the 229 crashes analyzed, 101 (44%) were rear-end and 128 (56%) were angle crashes. Driver age, gender, and presence of passengers did not differ significantly by crash type. Over 95% of rear-end crashes involved inadequate surveillance compared to only 52% of angle crashes (P < .0001). Almost 65% of rear-end crashes involved a potentially distracting driver behavior, whereas less than 40% of angle crashes involved these behaviors (P < .01). On average, drivers spent 4.4 s with their eyes off the road while operating or manipulating their cell phone. Drivers in rear-end crashes were at 3.06 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.73–5.44) times adjusted higher odds of being potentially distracted than those in angle crashes.

Conclusions: Fleet driver driving errors and potentially distracting behaviors are frequent. This analysis provides data to inform safe driving interventions for fleet services drivers. Further research is needed in effective interventions to reduce the likelihood of drivers' distracting behaviors and errors that may potentially reducing crashes.