Montana Department of Transportation

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Research

Guidance to Promote Workplace Policies and Family Rules to Reduce Cell Phone Use While Driving and Promote Engaged Driving

Distraction while driving is a significant cause of crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. Distracted driving may be more prevalent among young drivers who are already at greater risk for crashes due to novice driving skills. One source of distraction is using a cell phone. Communication (both spoken and typed) is a primary function of cell phones, and such communication is distracting because it takes the driver’s eyes off the road and pulls their attention from the driving task. Safe driving requires the driver to be engaged in the driving task. The family and workplace contexts offer two important opportunities to address cell phone use while driving and promote engaged driving. Families can establish rules about never using a cell phone while driving and never communicating using a phone with a family member who is driving. Workplaces can establish similar policies. Guidance to reach families and workplaces is needed for traffic safety practitioners to promote engaged driving – driving free of distractions like cell phones. The objectives of this project are to identify strategies for families and workplaces that foster engaged driving (i.e., practices that promote engagement by the driver in the driving task). Specifically, the project will seek to answer the following questions:

  • How do expectations within families and workplaces influence cell phone use while driving?
  • What beliefs and attitudes need to shift to change these expectations and increase engaged driving?
  • What are potentially effective strategies (and associated messages) to promote engaged driving within families and workplaces to reduce cell phone use?

Reports