Helping College Students Consider the Dangers of Distracted Driving

College students and adults ages 20 to 29 have one of the highest risks for fatal crashes involving distracted driving. Researchers at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Chicago and the advocacy group conducted a pilot study evaluating whether a low-cost educational program may help college-age drivers better grasp the dangers of distracted driving. A 60-minute program was presented at 19 colleges and universities in the Chicagoland area, followed by a series of surveys: one before the workshop, one immediately after, and a third survey three months later. The workshop addressed students’ perception of risk and their ability to multitask as well as social norms and state laws on cell phone use while driving.

A total of 444 college students attended the workshop and completed surveys. An analysis of their responses found a significant improvement in all of the attitude-knowledge based survey questions. Students said they were more likely to be involved in a serious crash if using a cell phone while driving or riding with a driver using a cell phone, and more participants agreed that using a cell phone could affect their driving performance. In the three-month follow-up surveys, most attitudes about the dangers of distracted driving still showed a positive change. Students reported they were less likely to use a mobile device while driving and less likely to text while stopped at a red light or stop sign.

While this pilot project shows promise for intervention among college students, distracted driving prevention is an ongoing effort and intervention tactics should be multi-faceted. 

Click here to learn more about how CDOT is combating distracted driving in Colorado through its Drop the Distraction campaign.

Distracted Teen Photo