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103 A randomized controlled trial of habit formation interventions for reducing distracted driving in a diverse national sample of auto-insurance customers
  1. Jeffrey Ebert1,
  2. Ruiying Xiong1,
  3. Dina Abdel-Rahman1,
  4. Neda Kahn1,
  5. Aaron Leitner1,
  6. William Everett2,
  7. Kristen Gaba2,
  8. William Fisher2,
  9. Catherine McDonald1,
  10. Flaura Winston1,
  11. Roy Rosin1,
  12. Kevin Volpp1,
  13. Ian Barnett1,
  14. Douglas Wiebe1,
  15. Scott Halpern1,
  16. M Kit Delgado1
  1. 1University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
  2. 2Progressive Insurance, Cleveland, USA


Statement of Purpose To compare the effectiveness of novel interventions aimed at building the habit of putting down one’s phone while driving, among drivers eligible for a smartphone telematics-based auto-insurance rate.

Methods/Approach We enrolled 1,670 Progressive Snapshot usage-based auto insurance customers in a 10-week randomized trial (NCT04587609) to test the additive impact of interventions designed to reduce handheld phone use while driving. Arm 1 (control) educated participants about the risks of handheld use. Arm 2 also gave them a free phone mount. Arm 3 included goal commitment and habit tips. Arm 4 added gamification and social competition, and Arm 5 linked performance to financial incentives ($11 average/driver). Post-intervention, participants were monitored for 25–65 more days. Outcome differences were measured using fractional logistic regression with Holm adjustment for multiple comparisons.

Results Participants had a mean age of 33 (18 to 77); 66% identified as white, 22% as Black, 4% as Asian, and 15% as Hispanic. Mean overall baseline handheld phone use was 388 sec/hr. During the intervention, Arm 2 (phone mount) had similar handheld use compared to control. Arm 3 (commitment + tips) had 26 sec/hr less use than control, Arm 4 (gamification + competition) had 51 sec/hr less, and Arm 5 (incentives) had 90 sec/hr less. After Holm adjustment, Arm 5 remained significantly different from control during the intervention (25% relative reduction, p < 0.001) and after (23%, p < 0.005). Subgroup analyses found that Arm 5 was successful across all ages.

Conclusion A multi-component behavioral intervention focusing on habit formation led to a sustained, one-quarter decrease in a common form of distracted driving.

Significance Given its successful implementation in a large usage-based auto insurance program, this intervention has significant potential for reducing a leading crash risk if brought to scale.

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