A Study on the Risk of Traffic Accidents using Smart Devices while Walking

보행중 스마트기기 사용에 따른 교통사고 위험성 연구

  • Received : 2017.01.20
  • Accepted : 2017.05.23
  • Published : 2017.06.30


This study was conducted to test the impacts of distractions caused by smartphones on pedestrians whilst walking alongside or across vehicular traffic in a high-density urban zone in South Korea. Through this study, we propose objective evidence for a link between the risk of traffic accidents and distractions from smartphones for pedestrians because of less likely notice activities surrounding road along their walking. This means that smartphones usage may cause inattentional blindness even during a simple activity that should require few cognitive resources. We conducted an experiment comparing pedestrian behavioral patterns of walking with smartphone distractions (such as listening to music with earphones or sending text messages) and normal walking without any distractions. In the experiment, participants walked along a pedestrian path prescribed by researchers and were observed at 8 points which were as follows: two observation points through which participants were instructed to listen to music whilst walking, two points where participants were instructed to send text messages, and four points through which participants were instructed not to use a smartphone at all. According to pedestrian behavior analysis, there is a trend for attention to be distributed amongst whatever other activities pedestrians are doing whilst walking. Therefore, this study proposes that pedestrians walking with such distractions are at a higher risk of traffic accidents compared to those who walk without such distractions. Thus, we advise for the South Korean government to consider ways to traffic policy that will enhance traffic safety for pedestrians.


impacts of distractions;smartphone distractions;pedestrians;risk of traffic accidents;cognitive psychology


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Supported by : Traffic Science Institute, Korea Road Traffic Authority