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A multi-year assessment of a hospital-based teen motor vehicle safety program
Purnima Unni, MPH, CHES, Cristina M. Estrada, MD, Emily Riley, BS, Dai H. Chung, MD. Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. This research describes effectiveness of a unique half-day multi-disciplinary hospital-based program to educate teen drivers of risks of texting while driving, relevant laws, and ways to curb this problem.

Methods: 137 high school students from at-risk counties participated in this program across 2013-2015. Awareness, beliefs, and behavior relating to texting while driving was assessed. After the session, a short survey was used to gain feedback about the program. An online follow-up survey was used after five months. Response rates ranged from 66% to 91%. Pre and post responses were compared for statistical significance using chi-square and ANOVA.

Results: Self-reported use of phone (texting and talking) while driving came down significantly (p< .05). Knowledge of laws pertaining to texting while driving, awareness of GDL, willingness to text for a teen driver or tell a teen driver that their texting (while driving) made them uncomfortable went up significantly. However, teens appeared to be unwilling to use apps to prevent texting while driving. The belief that texting while driving could result in a crash was strong and did not change significantly in the follow-up. Seat belt usage was consistently high. Teens did not believe texting at a red light was dangerous.

Conclusions: The program was successful in increasing awareness of risks associated with texting while driving and creating positive behavioral changes. However, getting teens to not use the phone at all while driving continues to be challenging.


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