Effect of electronic device use on pedestrian safety: A literature review

Robert A. Scopatz & Yuying Zhou
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

This literature review highlights the base of knowledge related to pedestrian distraction, driver distraction, and distraction-related crash risk in pedestrian-vehicle interactions. Although driver distraction is a well-researched area of risk and behavior, to date there have been no studies that show a direct link between behavioral effects of distraction and pedestrian risk. However, distraction changes the way pedestrians walk, behave, and react to safety-related behaviors.

Ultimately, this literature review highlights the fact that pedestrian distraction is a real problem, the effects of which are detected in crash data, naturalistic behavioral observations, virtual environment simulator studies, and the laboratory. Similar to distracted drivers, cell phones are the main cause of distraction for pedestrians, particularly while texting as their head is down and their eyes are averted from the road. Furthermore, the literature review emphasized the need for more research on pedestrian distraction so that countermeasures can be developed and promoted.

Reference
Scopatz, R. A. & Zhou, Y. (2016, April). Effect of electronic device use on pedestrian safety: A literature review (Report No. DOT HS 812 256). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.