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183 Mobile device use increases odds of self-reported pedestrian crash history among teenagers in US
  1. Kristin Rosenthal,
  2. Priti Gautam,
  3. Rennie W Ferguson
  1. Safe Kids Worldwide, USA


Background It is hypothesised that distraction caused by mobile device use contributes to the higher rate of pedestrian fatalities among teenagers compared to younger children in the U.S. The purpose of the research was to understand relationships between frequent device use and self-reported pedestrian crash history among teenagers. Results were used to develop targeted interventions.

Methods 1,040 teens aged 13 to 18 yrs were surveyed online (n = 964) or through a mobile platform (n = 76) from June 26–July 3, 2014. A quota was set for each age (n = 200), with 17- and 18-yr-olds combined. The survey was comprised of 38 items and 3 open-ended questions.

Results 39.9% of respondents reported having been hit or almost hit by a car, bicyclist, or motorcyclist while walking. 70.7% of respondents reported use of a device when walking or crossing ”all of the time,” ”often,” or ”sometimes.” No significant difference was found in self-reported crash history by grade level (p = 0.068), ethnicity (p = 0.059), or race (p = 0.052). However, there was a significant difference in crash history by time spent walking to school (p = 0.000), number of streets crossed (p = 0.014), rural/urban (p = 0.009), walking in the dark (p = 0.000), and frequent device use when walking/crossing (p = 0.000). When controlling for these factors, there was a positive relationship between frequent device use and crash history (OR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.15, 2.39, p = 0.006). Findings were used to build the ”Take Action Against Distraction” program, which uses social media and peer-to-peer education to prevent distracted walking among teens.

Conclusions Frequent use of mobile devices while walking or crossing the street resulted in increased odds of self-reported crash history among survey respondents.

  • Road safety
  • pedestrian
  • distraction

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