Investigators

Didier M Valdes Diaz, Ph.D.
University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Campus
Department of Civil Engineering
Benjamin Colucci
University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Campus
Department of Civil Engineering

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Project

Assessing the Impact of Smartphone Usage While Driving in Work Zones

In recent years, the use of mobile phones has evolved from talking and texting to other applications such as looking at GPS location maps, looking at pictures in social media, and playing interactive games. The increase in smartphone usage by drivers is particularly concerning in work zones when operations and maintenance (O/M) activities are being performed and/or pedestrians are present. Distracted drivers put O/M workers particularly at risk for injuries and fatalities when they are performing moving operations such as pavement testing, pavement marking, painting, shoulder work, mowing, signage repair, guardrail work, etc. This research will use driving simulation to investigate the impact of smartphone use involving texting and other applications on drivers’ errors and reaction time to avoid crashes in work zones. This research contributes to the body of knowledge on distracted driving by increasing the understanding about the impact of smartphone usage while driving under challenging conditions. The ultimate goal is to reduce the frequency and severity of loss events (personal injury, fatality, and property damage) in temporary traffic control zones such as work zones.