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Changing drivers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use through participative simulation testing and feedback
  1. Y Wang1,
  2. W Zhang1,
  3. M F Lesch2,
  4. W J Horrey2,
  5. C Chen1,
  6. S Wu1
  1. 1
    Department of Industrial Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, PR China
  2. 2
    Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr W Zhang, Department of Industrial Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China; zhangwei{at}


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a simulation-based participative and feedback approach to change drivers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use while driving.

Methods: 30 experienced drivers were tested. Five scenarios were developed to test drivers’ performance with and without a secondary mobile phone task on a medium-fidelity fixed base driving simulator. The treatment group received feedback in the form of video playback of their driving performance, while the control group did not receive any feedback. Attitudes towards mobile phone use were assessed by a questionnaire before, immediately after, and again one month following the experiment to determine the duration of feedback effects.

Results: All 30 drivers reported willingness to engage in driving and talking on a mobile phone in some situations. The results of the simulated driving test showed that a secondary mobile phone task significantly degraded driving performance. The treatment group showed significant attitude change towards mobile phone use while driving; the control group had no attitude change. At the one month follow-up, a continued benefit of feedback was reflected in driver attitudes in the treatment group.

Conclusions: Participative driving using simulation is a useful tool to demonstrate driving performance degradation in dual task conditions. It was found that feedback in the form of simulation playback is effective in changing drivers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use and that attitude change is maintained over a follow-up period of one month.

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  • Funding This research was supported by the Liberty Mutual Safework Program at Tsinghua and the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant 70771057.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics committee approval was obtained from Tsinghua University Industrial Engineering Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.