Preventing Distracted Driving Among College Students: Addressing Smartphone Use

Hassani, S.; Kelly, E.H.; Smith, J.; Thrope, S.; Sozzer, F.H.; Atchley, P.; Sullivan, E.; Larson, D.; Vogel, L.C.

The goals of this study were to develop, implement and evaluate a distracted driving presentation for college students to change knowledge, attitudes and distracted driving behaviors. A 30-minute, multi-media presentation about distracted driving was presented to 19 colleges and universities and reached 444 college students. Students completed three surveys: prior to the workshop (interview 1), immediately after the workshop (interview 2), and 3 months following the workshop (interview 3).

Immediately following the workshop, students reported that they were more likely to be in a crash if using a phone while driving. Students also indicated that they would be more likely to stop using their phone while driving if asked by a passenger, in addition to feeling more confident in asking a driver to stop using their cell phone. In addition to the identification of a change in attitudes, results revealed three themes: perceived risk, social norms, and multitasking. Participants who believed the risk for being caught was low, or who perceived themselves as being able to drive well while using their cell phone were less likely to believe distracted driving was dangerous.

Hassani, S., Kelly, E. H., Smith, J., Thorpe, S., Sozzer, F. H., Atchley, P., & Vogel, L. C. (2017). Preventing distracted driving among college students: Addressing smartphone use. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 99, 297-305.