Juana Perez

ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Kate Hyun


Distracted driving increases the crash frequencies on the road and subsequently leads to fatalities involved with crashes. As technology has evolved, drivers are continuously exposed to newer technology in their vehicles and applications in their phones, which has led to technology representing one of the main secondary tasks that distract drivers on the road. The impact of technology-involved distraction appears to be different by the type of distraction since a secondary task that can be exceedingly distracting to the driver causes more reckless and risky driving. Moreover, the impact of distracted driving may differ by roadway geometries since distracted drivers’ performance may vary depending on how actively they interact with other vehicles or surrounding environments. This study aims to understand the impacts of smartphone application distractions, in particular social media activities (e.g., video, feed, message), on different road geometries using a mixed-method analysis consisting of a survey, a driving simulator experiment, and an individual interview. Results from the interview and simulation experiments show that most social media activities cause unsafe lane changes regardless of road geometry. Among various social-media activities, watching reels (videos) represent a deeper level of engagement that consequently causes a driver to deviate in their lane, make unintentional lane changes, suddenly change their speed and acceleration, and headway. The interview also revealed varying levels of risk perception about distracted driving, in particular the lower level of risk perception in using GPS and music applications. This study concludes that the distractions caused by smartphone applications and social media activities combined with lower awareness and risk perception could significantly elevate crash risks.


Distracted driving, Social media, Mixed method, Driving simulator, Road geometry, Conventional distractions, Perceived risk


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington