When distracted road users cross paths

  • Published: USA Department for Transportation, 2011
  • Authors: R. Brumfield and S. Pulugurtha (Federal Highway Administration)
  • Date Added: 02 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 02 Feb 2013
  • Format: html


To investigate distractions and attentive behaviour amongst pedestrians and drivers.


Observational study of a number of crosswalk locations on the UNC Charlotte campus.

Key Findings:

  • 21.3 per cent of manoeuvres resulted in conflicts when the pedestrian displayed attentive behaviour and 16.8 per cent resulted in conflicts when the pedestrian displayed visibly distracted behaviour.

  • This may be partially explained by observations that 57.4 per cent of drivers yielded to the attentive pedestrians and 80 per cent yielded to the visibly distracted pedestrians.


Distractions, inattention, mobile phone use, conflicts


The size of the sample studied is not disclosed, and the location has 20 mph speed limits so results are not likely to be scalable. However, they give a useful indication of the nature of inattentive behaviour, particularly that drivers may be more likely to yield to a visibly distracted pedestrian.