FRIDAY, April 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Displaying freeway loss of life tolls on roadside message boards in a bid to curb crashes may very well trigger extra accidents, a brand new examine suggests.
That is as a result of they distract drivers, the researchers stated.
At the least 27 states have used such messages. The brand new report targeted on Texas, the place officers determined to show freeway loss of life tolls one week of each month.
“Folks have restricted consideration,” stated examine co-author Joshua Madsen, an assistant professor within the Faculty of Administration on the College of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “When a driver’s cognitive load is already maxed out, including on an attention-grabbing, sobering reminder of freeway deaths [can] turn out to be a harmful distraction.”
For the examine, Madsen and his workforce in contrast Texas crash knowledge from January 2010 to July 2012, earlier than the marketing campaign, to August 2012 to December 2017 when it was underway. Additionally they checked out weekly variations every month in the course of the marketing campaign.
The investigators discovered that there have been 4.5% extra crashes alongside the ten kilometers (6.21 miles) of freeway the place loss of life numbers have been displayed throughout weeks once they have been proven than in message-free weeks.
The rise is akin to elevating the pace restrict 3 to five miles per hour or decreasing freeway troopers by 6% to 14%, earlier analysis reveals.
The findings, printed April 21 within the journal Science , counsel that every 12 months highway fatality messages triggered an added 2,600 crashes and 16 deaths in Texas.
That is as a result of this “in-your-face” messaging about highway deaths briefly impacts drivers’ skill to reply to adjustments in visitors circumstances, the examine authors stated in a college information launch.
The researchers additionally discovered that the extra crashes related to the messages elevated because the loss of life toll rose. The best quantity occurred in January, when messages displayed the earlier 12 months’s complete variety of deaths.
The examine additionally confirmed that crashes elevated in areas the place drivers required better focus, resembling heavy visitors or driving previous a number of message boards.
In line with examine co-author Jonathan Corridor, “The messages additionally elevated the variety of multivehicle crashes, however not single-vehicle crashes.” Corridor is an assistant professor within the Faculty of International Affairs and Public Coverage on the College of Toronto in Canada.
“That is according to drivers with elevated cognitive masses making smaller errors as a consequence of distraction, like drifting out of a lane, quite than driving off the highway,” Corridor added.
The researchers did discover a discount in crashes when the displayed loss of life tolls have been low and when messages have been proven in areas the place highways have been much less advanced.
General, the findings counsel that states ought to contemplate different methods of elevating consciousness about highway security, based on Madsen.
“Distracted driving is harmful driving,” he stated. “Maybe these campaigns might be reimagined to succeed in drivers in a safer means, resembling when they’re stopped at an intersection, in order that their consideration whereas driving stays targeted on the roads.”
The U.S. Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration has sensible tricks to maintain you secure.
SOURCE: College of Minnesota, information launch, April 21, 2022