Support for distracted driving laws: An analysis of adolescent drivers from the Traffic Safety Culture Index from 2011 to 2017

Caitlin N. Pope, Ann Nwosu, Toni M. Rudisill, Motao Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Adolescent drivers are often the focus of traffic safety legislation as they are at increased risk for crash-related injury and death. However, the degree to which adolescents support distracted driving laws and factors contributing to their support are relatively unknown. Using a large, nationally weighted sample of adolescent drivers in the United States, we assessed if perceived threat from other road users’ engagement in distracted driving, personal engagement in distracted driving behaviors, and the presence of state distracted driving laws was associated with support for distracted driving laws. Methods: The sample included 3565 adolescents (aged 16–18) who participated in the Traffic Safety Culture Index survey from 2011 to 2017. A modified Poisson regression model with robust errors was fit to the weighted data to examine support for distracted driving laws. Models included age, gender, year, state distracted driving laws, personal engagement in distracted driving behavior, and perceived threat from other road users’ engaging in distracted driving. Results: Approximately 87% of adolescents supported a law against texting and emailing compared to 66% who supported a universal handheld cellphone law. Support for distracted driving legislation was associated with greater perceived threat of other road users engaging in distracted driving while accounting for personal engagement in distracted driving, state distracted driving laws, and developmental covariates. Discussion: Greater understanding of the factors behind legislative support is needed. Public health interventions focused on effectively translating the risks of cellphone use while driving and effective policy will further improve the traffic safety culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-432
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Volume78
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • Health risk assessment
  • Inattentive driving
  • Legislation
  • Policy
  • Teens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Applied Psychology

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