The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma’s Injury Control and Violence Prevention Committee’s annual distracted driving outreach event: Evaluating attitude and behavior change in high school students

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

The National Center for Statistics and Analysis reports at least eight deaths and 1,160 daily injuries due to distracted driving (DD) in the United States. Drivers younger than 20 years are most likely to incur a distraction-related fatal crash. We aimed to determine short- and long-term impact of a multimodal educational program including student-developed interventions, simulated driving experiences, and presentations by law enforcement and medical personnel.

METHODS

A single-day program aimed at teen DD prevention was conducted at a high school targeting students aged 15 years to 19 years old. Students were surveyed before, after, and at 6 weeks. We surveyed age, gender, knowledge, and experience regarding DD. Summary statistics were obtained at each survey time point. Bivariate and multivariable analysis were conducted to assess whether change in responses varied over time points. Multivariable models were adjusted for sex and urban and rural driving.

RESULTS

Preintervention, postintervention, and 6-week follow-up surveys were completed by 359, 272 (76%), and 331 (92%) students, respectively. At baseline and 6-week follow-up, the most frequent passenger-reported DD behaviors were cell phone (63% [63% at follow-up) and radio use (61% [63%]). Similarly, the most frequent driver-reported DD behaviors were cell phone (68% [72%]) and radio use (79% [80%]). When students were asked, “How likely are you to use your cell phone while driving?” they answered “never” 35%, 70%, and 46% on the preintervention, postintervention, and 6-week surveys. They were less likely to report consequences to be worse or change in attitude to a great extent at 6 weeks (p < 0.01). Gender and urban or rural driving were not significantly associated with responses.

CONCLUSIONS

While DD education may facilitate short-term knowledge and attitude changes, there appears to be no lasting effect. Research should be focused toward strategies for longer-term impact.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE

Therapeutic study, level II.

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