Characterizing phone usage while driving: Safety impact from road and operational perspectives using factor analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Phone use while driving (PUWD) is one of the most crucial factors of distraction related traffic crashes. This study utilized an unsupervised learning method, known as factor analysis, on a unique distracted driving dataset to understand PUWD behavior from the roadway geometry and operational perspectives. The results indicate that the presence of a shoulder, median, and access control on the relatively higher functional class roadways could encourage more PUWD events. The roadways with relatively lower speed limits could have high PUWD event occurrences if the variation in operating speed is high. The results also confirm the correlations between the frequency of PUWD events and the frequency of distracted crashes. This relationship is strong on urban roadways. For rural roadways, this correlation is only strong on the roadways with a large amount of PUWD events. The findings could help transportation agencies to identify suitable countermeasures in reducing distraction related crashes. Moreover, this study provides researchers a new perspective to study PUWD behavior rather than only focus on drivers' personalities.

published proceedings

  • Accid Anal Prev

altmetric score

  • 21.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kong, X., Das, S., Zhou, H., & Zhang, Y.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Kong, Xiaoqiang||Das, Subasish||Zhou, Hongmin||Zhang, Yunlong

publication date

  • January 2021