Purpose Distracted driving encompasses a wide range of activities and can be defined as engaging in any activity that diverts eyes or attention away from driving. The relationship between distracted driving behaviours and motor vehicle collisions and mortality is well established. Teen drivers are among those with the highest rates of distracted driving and are overrepresented in distraction-related fatal crashes. However, as of yet, there is no brief measure that assesses distracted driving in this population and can easily be used for community- and school-based program evaluation. In the present study, we describe the development and initial validation of the Distracted Driving Survey for Teens (DDST).
Methods Originally developed to evaluate the efficacy of a school-based intervention program, this 24-item Likert-type scale assesses teen driver attitudes and practices regarding driver distractions and is brief enough to be used in school settings or online. Survey questions were developed by a multidisciplinary research team, pilot-tested and evaluated in a developmental sample of 558 teen drivers in southeastern Virginia, ages 14–19 (M=16.1).
Results An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) revealed that ninety-seven percent of the common variance was explained by the following 3 factors: self-evaluation of distracted driving behaviours, beliefs about risks and consequences, and perceptions of personal susceptibility. Analyses demonstrated strong internal consistency, with Cronbach’s alpha of 0.85 overall and alphas of 0.86, 0.79, and 0.73 across factors, respectively. The scale can be completed in approximately five to seven minutes, with total scores ranging from 24 ‘“ 120. Higher scores are reflective of greater levels of unsafe driving attitudes and practices.
Conclusions The DDST demonstrates strong preliminary reliability and validity among teen drivers.
Significance The DDST is a brief measure that assesses distracted driving among teens and can be used in community- and school-based program evaluation efforts.
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