Online Program

Texting and Driving: Investigating the perceived severity, seriousness, and threat associated with distracted driving among young adults

Monday, November 2, 2015

Theresa Hunter, MPH, MS, CHES, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Susan M Smith, EdD, MSPH, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana School of Public Health Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Background: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers in their 20s make up 27% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. Since text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, it is by far one of the more alarming distractions especially among motor vehicle drivers. The purpose of this research project was to investigate the beliefs and behaviors related to driving while distracted among undergraduate college students, between the ages of 18-25 years.

Methods: This study used a cross-sectional design and data was collected using a group administered paper and pencil questionnaire at four public universities in Indiana. The study consisted of 1,000 college students between the ages of 18-27 years old.

Results: This study measured perceived susceptibility to motor vehicle injuries and perceived severity of distracted driving. While over 50% of participants indicated that they believed texting while driving was dangerous, 93% of these participants indicated they still text while driving. The results revealed that age and gender were associated with distracted driving, with younger females being at the highest risk for distracted driving.

Conclusions: By understanding the norms and beliefs that undergraduate college students have towards distracted driving, health educators will be able to create appropriate and effective health promotion and health education materials and resources. 

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the rates of distracted driving among young adults. Explain how perceived susceptibility, seriousness, and threat are associated with distracted driving behaviors. Identify policies and initiatives that can be useful in decreasing the rates of distracted driving among young adults.

Keyword(s): Motor Vehicles, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the P.I. on this research project.
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.

Back to: 3100.0: Transportation Safety