FRIDAY, April 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Exhibiting freeway demise 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 mentioned.
At the least 27 states have used such messages. The brand new report centered on Texas, the place officers determined to show freeway demise tolls one week of each month.
«Individuals have restricted consideration,» mentioned 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 into a harmful distraction.»
For the examine, Madsen and his crew 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 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 demise numbers had been displayed throughout weeks once they had been proven than in message-free weeks.
The rise is akin to elevating the velocity restrict 3 to five miles per hour or decreasing freeway troopers by 6% to 14%, earlier analysis reveals.
The findings, revealed April 21 within the journal Science , recommend that every yr 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 quickly impacts drivers’ capability to reply to modifications in site visitors circumstances, the examine authors mentioned in a college information launch.
The researchers additionally discovered that the extra crashes related to the messages elevated because the demise toll rose. The very best quantity occurred in January, when messages displayed the earlier yr’s whole variety of deaths.
The examine additionally confirmed that crashes elevated in areas the place drivers required higher focus, corresponding to 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 hundreds making smaller errors on account 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 demise tolls had been low and when messages had been proven in areas the place highways had been much less complicated.
General, the findings recommend that states ought to take into account different methods of elevating consciousness about highway security, in line with Madsen.
«Distracted driving is harmful driving,» he mentioned. «Maybe these campaigns will be reimagined to achieve drivers in a safer method, corresponding to when they’re stopped at an intersection, in order that their consideration whereas driving stays centered on the roads.»
The U.S. Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration has sensible tricks to preserve you secure.
SOURCE: College of Minnesota, information launch, April 21, 2022