Freeway Loss of life Toll Warning Indicators Could Trigger Extra Crashes, Not Much less


By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Exhibiting 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.

No less than 27 states have used such messages. The brand new report centered on Texas, the place officers determined to show freeway loss of life tolls one week of each month.

“Individuals have restricted consideration,” stated examine co-author Joshua Madsen, an assistant professor within the College 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 group in contrast Texas crash information 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 throughout 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 after they have been proven than in message-free weeks.

The rise is corresponding to elevating the pace restrict 3 to five miles per hour or lowering freeway troopers by 6% to 14%, earlier analysis exhibits.

The findings, printed April 21 within the journal Science , recommend that every yr highway fatality messages prompted 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’ capability to answer adjustments in site 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 very best quantity occurred in January, when messages displayed the earlier yr’s complete variety of deaths.

The examine additionally confirmed that crashes elevated in areas the place drivers required larger focus, resembling heavy site visitors or driving previous a number of message boards.

In response to 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 College of World 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 result of distraction, like drifting out of a lane, slightly 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 recommend that states ought to contemplate different methods of elevating consciousness about highway security, in accordance with Madsen.

“Distracted driving is harmful driving,” he stated. “Maybe these campaigns could be reimagined to achieve drivers in a safer method, resembling when they’re stopped at an intersection, in order that their consideration whereas driving stays centered on the roads.”

Extra data

The U.S. Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration has sensible tricks to maintain you secure.

SOURCE: College of Minnesota, information launch, April 21, 2022


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