Online Program

Association between states' texting regulations and the prevalence of texting while driving among United States' high school students

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Toni Rudisill, MS, PhD, Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Motao Zhu, MD, MS, PhD, Dept. of Epidemiology and Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Objective: Teenage drivers are most at risk for motor vehicle collision and for using mobile technologies while driving.  Various distracted driving laws exist in the U.S., but their effectiveness remains unknown.  

Methods: Data from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System were merged with each state’s legislation.  The prevalence of texting while driving(TWD) was assessed among population subgroups, different types of laws, modes of enforcement, average state fines, and the presence of licensure delay for violations using log binomial regression for complex surveys. 

Results: The prevalence of TWD was 39.0% in the 30 days prior to survey. Compared to states with the strictest bans, the adjusted prevalence ratio of texting was 1.20 (95% CI 1.05, 1.37) in states with no bans, 1.32 (95% CI 1.08, 1.60) in states with young driver bans only, 1.29 (95% CI 1.04, 1.59) in states with texting bans for certain ages but no young driver all cellphone bans, and 1.31 (95% CI 1.06, 1.61) in states with universal texting bans only.  The adjusted prevalence of TWD did not differ by secondary vs. primary enforcement (PR=1.04; 95% CI 0.92, 1.17) or with fines >$100 vs. ≤$100 (PR=1.03; 95% CI 0.83, 1.27).  The adjusted prevalence of TWD was 27% less in states with licensure delay (PR=0.73; 95% CI 0.62, 0.88). 

Conclusions: The prevalence of TWD may be lower in states with the strictest bans because they are easier for the public to interpret and less challenging to enforce.  Licensure delay may dissuade young drivers from engaging in risky behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the different types of distracted driving legislation in effect in the United States.

Keyword(s): Motor Vehicles, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator on numerous federally funded grants focusing on traffic safety and public policy. I have also authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in the field of injury epidemiology and traffic safety.
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.