The study will measure the effectiveness of a distracted driving campaign in the emergency
department in teenagers, 15 to 18 years old, to determine if it changes their attitudes
towards texting while driving. It will also assess previous knowledge and behaviors in this
age group, regarding distracted driving and what educational tool (power point vs. videos
vs. brochure) has the most impact changing the attitudes towards texting and driving.
Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) as any
activity that could withdraw a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. It
includes, talking or texting on a cell phone, grooming, eating or drinking, changing radio
stations, or talking to passengers. Of all these activities text messaging is by far the
most alarming distraction because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from
The NHTSA Research Note on distracted driving found that in 2011, 10% percent of fatal
crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes. This research also showed that teens
between 15 to 19 years old are currently the largest group with distracted driving affected
crashes, with 21% percent of them getting distracted while using their cell phones.
During the last few years, multiple public awareness campaigns have been launched in attempt
to reduce this problem. These massive campaigns have included television, radio and internet
campaigns, posters, billboards and brochures among others. Nevertheless, there are no
studies assessing the success of these methods.
The research project will use visual and verbal educational tools to engage this population
in order to maximize the learning process. The project will include brochures, video
presentations and power point presentations. The investigators intend to test a potentially
new and effective way to teach our teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving. The
project primary goal is to assess if a distracting driving campaign in the emergency
department is effective in changing the attitudes towards texting while driving. The
investigator also intends to assess the current knowledge about distracted driving and to
determine which tool (visual vs. verbal) is most effective to deliver this message.
- Adolescents between the ages of 15 to 18 years
- Adolescents refusing to participate in the Distracted Driving Campaign.
- Adolescents visiting the emergency department with a chief complaint related to
mental illness, suicide ideation or attempt, or any complaint limiting the ability to
complete the questionnaire.
- Adolescents with diagnosis of developmental delay that could affect his or her
ability to complete the questionnaire.
- Adolescents that do not speak English (the videos about real people who have had
accidents while texting and driving found at
http://www.distraction.gov/faces/index.html are available only in English.