Road design can combat distracted-driving crashes: Study

Louise Esola

11/20/2018 11:21:00 AM

Source: Business Insurance

Highlighting the increase in distracted driving fatalities and injuries, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business revealed the impact that modifying road design can have on reducing frequency and severity of distracted driving crashes.


The findings, released Monday, found that the length of a roadway segment or number of lanes had a negative impact on the frequency of distracted driving crashes and that roundabouts had a significant effect on reducing severity of crashes.


Road environments that have a median or a shoulder with an asphalt pavement were also found to have fewer distracted driving crashes, researchers found.

Other key findings included:

  • Distracted driving-related crashes account for about 18% of overall Ohio crash fatalities and 16% of serious injuries in Ohio.
  • Distracted driving-related crashes are up to 49% more severe when they occur on a highway system.
  • Distracted driving crashes are 5-10 times more likely to be fatal than severe in a rear end and or angle crash.
  • Roundabouts were found to be the single most effective road design in reducing the rate of crashes and crash severity. Within the 2013-17 data, there were no fatal crashes in roundabouts.


This study helps to highlight that there is a need to improve traffic safety and road management,” Phil Renaud, executive director of the Columbus-based institute, said in a statement. β€œIt provides new evidence that supports taking steps to improve traffic signs and safety regulations for distracted driving in specific areas. There are things we can do on a local, city level to lower crash frequencies and severities.”