Online Program

Influence of peers and risk perception on distracted driving of teens and parents of teens

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

C. Raymond Bingham, PhD, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Jennifer Zakrajsek, MS, MPH, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Tina Sayer, PhD, Toyota Technical Center, Ann Arbor, MI
Jean T. Shope, MSPH, PhD, Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Concern about driver distraction increases as technologies built into or that can be carried into motor vehicles become more common. Distracted driving behavior (DDB) is common, and an important threat to roadway safety, yet little is known regarding individual motivations to participate in these high-risk activities. This research examined the role of social norms in DDBs. Two independent representative national samples, teenage drivers (n=2710, 46% female, 80% white) and adult parents of teenage drivers (n=3035, 68% female, 90% white), were interviewed regarding their DDB and their perception of risks associated with DDBs that require taking one or both hands off the steering wheel (HOW), eyes off road (EOR), or both (HOW_EOR), and their peers' DDB and approval of DDB. Teens engaged in DDB significantly more frequently than adults and their DDB was more strongly correlated with their distracted driving risk perception. All participants perceived their peers to have higher DDB frequencies than themselves. Regression models indicated that more peer DDB and approval of DDB, and lower perceived risk associated with EOR, HOW, and EOR_HOW, predicted higher adult DDB. More peer DDB and approval of DDB predicted teen DDB, but when perceived risk was added, only more frequent peer DDB and lower perceived risk associated with HOW and HOW_EOR were significant. Results suggest that teens' perceived DDB risk accounts for the influence of peer approval in deciding to participate in DDBs. This was not observed for adults. These results have implications for interventions to reduce teen and adult driver DDB.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the associations of social norms and risk perception with distracted driving behavior in teenagers and parents of teenage drivers.

Keyword(s): Injury Prevention, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the area of roadway injury prevention and young driver safety for 14 years, and served as PI on the project on which this research is based. I have been PI or Co-PI on numerous federally-funded research projects in the area of roadway injury prevention.
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.