Background Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death worldwide, and novice drivers have the highest crash risk. Interventions that integrate parents in motivating safe teen driving are a promising strategy.
Methods A randomised trial tested two intervention strategies: in-vehicle video feedback and a parent-focused communication program called “Steering Teens Safe (STS).” For the in-vehicle video feedback, two small video cameras with GPS recorded driving and driving errors (exceeding a threshold for acceleration/deceleration or lateral movement). A blinking light alerted drivers of an error, and parents received a weekly report card with video clips and a summary. STS trained parents to improve the quality and quantity of parent-teen communication about safe driving. Evaluations have shown both interventions to be effective independently, but no studies have examined parent-teen interaction related to in-vehicle feedback systems. 153 parent-teen dyads were recruited through local high schools and randomised to one of three groups: control; in-vehicle video feedback; and feedback with STS.
Preliminary Results During baseline (4 weeks), groups averaged between 22 and 27 driving errors per week. The STS plus video group reduced their average driving errors to 8 in the first month (a 64% reduction) and to five or less in the second through fourth months (−77%). The video only group had a slight reduction of 27 to 23 (−15%) driving errors in the first month, then reduced to ten or less for months two through four (−63%). The control group did not show any decrease in driving errors. Proportionate hazards models indicate that the STS group had a significantly faster reduction in driving errors, and both intervention groups had significant reductions by the fourth month.
Conclusions In-vehicle video feedback systems effectively reduce driving errors, and the effectiveness is significantly improved when paired with a parent-focused communication program.
- novice driver
- randomised trial
- road safety
- safe driving
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