240305 Cellular phone use while driving on the University of Florida campus

Monday, October 31, 2011

Willliam Parker Hinson, BS , Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Louis Carrillo, BS , Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, Univeristy of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Amrika Rampersad, BHS , College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Karla Ruiz, BS, BA , Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Andrea Sparano, BA , College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Background: Our pilot study revealed a possible relationship between miles driven and texting while driving. Our current study aims to illuminate this relationship as well as explore gender rates and attitudes in further detail. Pilot Study Methods: Phase 1 included an anonymous questionnaire administered to university students that focused on self reported behaviors including reading/writing texts, talking on the phone and potential “protective” behaviors while driving, frequency of behaviors, demographics, and driving history. Phase 2 employed direct observation of vehicles at four intersections on campus. The number of vehicles, distractions, and genders of distracted drivers were recorded for 30-minute intervals in each direction. Frequencies and correlations were tabulated for data sets. Pilot Study Results: Phase 1: 290 students participated in the questionnaire with an average age of 22.2. 86.6% of respondents said they send texts while driving. Students were asked whether they engage in certain behaviors and responded as such: texting at a stop sign (45.7%), texting in parking lots (48.4%), pulling over to text (7.5%), and asking a passenger to text (56.1%). Indicative of our current research, miles driven had a significant, positive correlation (p < 0.001). Phase 2: 1,138 vehicles were observed revealing that 12.9% of drivers were engaged in distracted driving. Among all drivers, 3.4% were texting and 6.4% were speaking on the phone. Current research is ongoing through May. Conclusion: Previous results have shown that this behavior is widespread and could pose multiple risks. Current research has the potential to guide campus policy.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify behaviors that correlate to cellphone use while driving. Differentiate gender rates for cell phone use while driving Compare self reported behavior versus directly observed behavior. Describe attitudes of cellphone use while driving for various undergraduate and graduate groups on a college campus. Understanding the implications of texting and driving research on university policies.

Keywords: Motor Vehicles, Injury Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in texting and driving research my entire time in my Master's program. I was involved in the creation of all the tools used for this study as well as the data collection and analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.