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Distracted drivers 29 times more likely to wreck in a work zone

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Dear Carey​​,

A distracted driver — such as answering a phone call, a text message, or being distracted by a passenger —  is 29 TIMES MORE LIKELY to wreck in a work zone, says Praveen Edara and a team of researchers.

“Unfortunately, crash reports do not include detailed information about driver behavior prior to a crash," Edara said. "What’s unique about our research project is that we used naturalistic driving study data that provides information about how driver, vehicle, roadway and environmental factors contribute to a crash. In other words, we reconstructed a driver’s actions and the surrounding environment prior to the crash from a firsthand account.�??

The study's results could provide recommendations on “behavioral countermeasures�?? to state transportation agencies and the Federal Highway Administration, which are implementing countermeasures to decrease injuries and fatalities in a highway work zone. Of the seven current Federal Highway Administration funded projects using this data, only MU is using the data to specifically look at highway work zones.

You can read more about Dr. Edara's study in Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board here ( . If you like, I can help arrange a time to speak with him.

I appreciate your thoughtful consideration,


Eric Stann

Science Writer  

MU News Bureau

University of Missouri

329 Jesse Hall

Columbia, MO 65211 (

Phone: (573) 882-3346


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