256640 Health Belief Model and attitudes and behaviors related to distracted driving with use of a simulation game to prevent distracted driving

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Maria T. Wessel, EdD, CHES , Department of Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Theresa M. Enyeart Smith, PhD, CHES , Department of Health Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
The National Safety Council estimates approximately 1.6 million crashes are caused annually by drivers talking on cell phones and texting. A 2010 survey indicated 90% of young adults text or talk while driving knowing the increased accident risks.

The purpose of this study was to identify attitudes, behavioral intention and behaviors related to distracted driving, before and after completion of a distracted driving simulation game. The Health Belief Model was used as a theoretical framework to explain attitudes and behaviors related to distracted driving.

Participants were university students who completed a pretest measuring distracted driving attitudes and behaviors. Immediately after the pretest they completed a simulation game that tested their ability to text while avoiding driving hazards, followed by the posttest. They completed the posttest again one month later to determine changes in attitudes and behaviors.

Some behaviors measured included how often they text while driving, during what driving situations they text, their willingness as passengers to tell drivers not to text, and negative consequences experienced due to distracted driving. Attitudes measured included perception of risks, “fairness” of laws, personal ability to multitask and general safety concern. Response to cues to action, behavioral intention and behavior change were also assessed. A number of participants text and drive and acknowledge the risks but are unwilling to stop texting while driving. Some participants stated the simulation game was not realistic, thereby lessening its prevention impact. Investigation of other more effective prevention methods is necessary to reduce distracted driving behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify specific data on cell phone/texting use while driving 2.Identify specific distracted driving attitudes and behaviors 3. Identify components of the Health Belief Model related to distracted driving 4. Evaluate the inconsistency between positive knowledge and attitudes about distracted driving and continuing to practice risky behaviors while driving 5. Identify the impact of a distracted driving simulation game to prevent risky driving behavior 6. Recognize barriers to prevent distracting driving behaviors among participants

Keywords: Risk Taking Behavior, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have presented and moderated on health topics at numerous national public health conferences for over 25 years. My research interests include Substance abuse and Behavioral Determinants of health. I am a Professor at James Madison University and hold an EdD, Health Education, University of Virginia; MS, Ed., Health and Physical Education; BS, Health and Physical Education, both from James Madison University. I have multiple presentations in peer reviewed journals.
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.