Get the Message: A Teen Distracted Driving Program

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Elimination of distracted driving is becoming a public health priority. Each day, an average of 8 people are killed due to a distracted driver in the United Sates. Although all drivers are at risk, research has indicated that teenage drivers are overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes due to distracted driving. Teenage drivers are hindered by limited driving experience, and the illusion of invincibility is a common phase in social and cognitive adolescent development. “Get the Message: A Teenage Distracted Driving Program” was established at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to identify, define, and measure the factors that contribute to distracted driving in teens. A convenience sample of 1,238 teenagers in this study represented all 50 states in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, and 21 other countries. At the beginning of each program, a presurvey is administered to assess baseline behavior, attitude, and knowledge regarding distracted driving. After completing the program, teens complete a postsurvey to measure proposed changes in driving behaviors, attitude, and knowledge. The program employs the use of a slide presentation, hospital tour, video, and survivor's testimony to influence teen driving behaviors and increase knowledge. Research has indicated that an increase in the Health Belief Model constructs may enhance engagement in health-promoting behaviors, such as safe driving practices in teens. Based on the postsurvey results, the reduction in projected phone use while driving in this teen population indicates the effectiveness of this hospital-based teen distracted driving program.

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