The increased use of smartphones during the last decade has resulted in thousands of crashes per year in the United States and its territories. Drivers’ usage increases are particularly concerning in highway work zones when operations and maintenance (O/M) activities are being performed. Many US states and territories, including Puerto Rico, have outlawed or restricted the use of smartphones while driving to address this issue. This paper investigates drivers’ attitudes and behavior through work zones in Puerto Rico, where the law restricts the use of smartphones while driving. A driving simulator was used to for this research, and because the Global Positioning System (GPS) is one of the exceptions to Puerto Rico’s law, part of the study aimed to see the effect it may have on drivers. Also, a survey was conducted in Puerto Rico to study two key aspects: (1) how drivers perceive the safety impact of various sources of distractions while driving, and (2) how much drivers understand information provided through signage and pavement markings in work zones. According to the results, at least 50% of drivers perform activities that distract them from the highway even though they understand that it is risky behavior. Survey results indicate that drivers tend to comply more with work-zone speed limits when personnel or heavy equipment are present in the area.
Publication Date: November 2019
Source URL: Link to URL
Publication Types: Books, Reports, Papers, and Research Articles
Topics: Behavior; Distracted Driving; Laws and Legislation; Smartphones; Work Zone Safety; Work Zones