Mobile device use policies targeting drivers: What does the evidence show?
methods: Mixed-methods analyses of traffic/vital records data and qualitative stakeholder interviews.
results: Distracted driving, reported to be common behavior in Mississippi, contributed to 1 out of 12 crash-related deaths in a state with one of the highest motor vehicle crash death rates nationwide. In 2011, the state reported 18,068 crash injuries with an estimated medical service cost of $38.6 million.
Mississippi has enacted mobile device use restrictions which apply to novice and school bus drivers. Other restrictions were considered, not enacted. Enforcement and drivers targeted are key policy debate topics. While statewide crash death rates remains high, rates declined significantly (p<.01) from 2008 to 2012 for traffic safety risks (unbelted, speeding, alcohol impaired) receiving coordinated policy enactment, law enforcement, and public education supports.
Research shows states that reduced motor vehicle crash deaths significantly over the past decade enacted policy provisions to prohibit mobile device use by all drivers and authorized enforcement when it is a primary traffic safety violation. Mississippi could have reduced crash death counts by an estimated 95 lives and crash injury counts by 10,260 if a primary enforced mobile device ban for all drivers had been authorized from 2008 to 2012. Medical service spending costs could have been reduced by $75.01 million.
conclusions: Evidence about the impact of mobile device use by drivers has grown. Application of the research is critical to inform policy debates, particularly in states with few enacted restrictions.
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the types of policies enacted to address mobile device use while driving. Discuss estimates of the population health and economic impacts of mobile device use laws enacted. Identify evidence-based policies with potential to impact health and economic outcomes related to mobile device us while driving.
Keyword(s): Violence & Injury Prevention, Public Health Policy
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an epidemiologist and senior policy analyst with more than a decade of professional experience working with diverse stakeholders including government, non-profit and private organizations. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Public Health Association and as a Governing Council member for the American Public Health Association. I am a doctoral candidate completing a dissertation in public health epidemiology and hold a masters degree in public health epidemiology and biostatistics.
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.