The Psychology of Distracted Driving and Working Toward Reducing Driver Distraction

Abstract: Distracted driving is a leading contributor to motor vehicle accidents, and it is estimated to cause thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries per year in the United States. We conducted two surveys of U.S. drivers to study the psychological underpinnings of distracted driving. We considered a number of possible causes including 1) underestimation of distracted driving risks, 2) affective reactions to causes and consequences of distracted driving, 3) motivated denial of risks of distracted driving, 4) overconfidence in driving ability, and 5) perceived acceptability of distracted driving. We also examined support for a variety of methods of distraction reduction and began investigating ways to increase support for distraction mitigation. We found evidence of multiple independent predictors toward self-reported distracted driving, variability in support for distraction mitigation, and confirmed that the language used to describe mitigation strategies influences support.

Presentation at the Community Engagement Conference. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, January 23–24, 2019.

Authors: Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, Ellen Peters

Date: January 23, 2019

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