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Changing drivers’ attitudes towards mobile phone use through participative simulation testing and feedback

Abstract

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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