Wednesday 4 September 2013

Better texting data: only 1 driver in 100 does it

Our morning surveys show that about 1 in 5 drivers stopped at a light is texing or phoning. Pretty damning -but there could be selection bias. The lights stop the drivers who aren't aggressive -possibly because they are on the phone. And its one route, morning only.

More data is needed.

Here then is a short video of the route from Ashton Court to Clifton, initially showing a line of stationary traffic on the A369 (Portishead and M5 Gordano Services exit), heading down to town. Ignore them: our dataset is the line of vehicles heading to the junction from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It's great for a survey: a row of stationary vehicles, easy to measure from the other side of the road, and because of the toll, many people have their window down.

Count the cars, and see if you can spot the one texting

For the inattentive, it's the Audi 1:88, where both driver and passenger are tapping away on their smartphones. That's the car with the custom number plate RJZ1066, to show how important they really are.

Sadly, even though they are important, they are stuck behind 70+ other vehicles driven by people who also think that they are important, so the Audi driver has to text ahead and perhaps add updates on facebook. It is selfish commuters who are holding up the important people from getting home from Clifton.

What's important is that the new data shows that the claims that 1 driver in 5 is texting at lights is clearly false -at least here, on a weekday evening.

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