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Paediatrician knowledge, attitudes, and counselling patterns on teen driving
  1. Jeffrey C Weiss1,
  2. Joseph O'Neil2,
  3. Jean T Shope3,
  4. Karen G O'Connor4,
  5. Rebecca A Levin5
  1. 1Paediatric Hospitalist Division, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  3. 3Transportation Research Institute/School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  4. 4Department of Research, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA
  5. 5Department of Community & Specialty Paediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeffrey C Weiss, Phoenix Children's Hospital, 1919 E Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA; jweiss{at}


Background Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Little is known about the content of US paediatrician counselling about teen driving.

Objective To examine US paediatrician knowledge, attitudes, and counselling patterns regarding teen driving.

Methods A random sample questionnaire was mailed to American Academy of Pediatrics members in 2009 (n=1606; response=875 (55%)). Analysis was limited to 596 paediatricians who provide adolescent checkups. Questions addressed counselling and attitudes towards roles in promoting safe driving. Logistic regression assessed the relationship between counselling topics and practice characteristics.

Results Most (89%) respondents provide some counselling about driving. Two topics commonly discussed by paediatricians were seatbelts (87%) and alcohol use (82%). Less frequently discussed were: cell phones (47%), speeding (43%), and dangers of transporting teen passengers (41%). Topics rarely discussed were: night driving (21%), graduated driver licensing laws (13%), safe cars (9%), driver education (9%), fatigue (25%), and parental limit setting (23%). Only 10% ever recommend a parent–teen driver agreement. Paediatricians who had a patient injured or killed in an MVC were more likely to discuss night driving (OR=2.86). Physicians caring for a high proportion of adolescents (OR=1.83) or patients with private insurance (OR=1.85) counsel more about the risks of driving with teen passengers.

Conclusions Paediatricians in the USA support counselling on teen driving during routine office visits, but omit many important risk factors. Few recommend parent–teen driver agreements. Methods that help clinicians efficiently and effectively counsel families about teen driving should be developed.

  • Adolescent
  • novice driver
  • counselling
  • driver

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  • Funding This study was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent policies of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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