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Brief Research Report ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00207

DRIVING DISTRACTIONS AMONG PUBLIC HEALTH CENTER CLIENTS: A LOOK AT LOCAL PATTERNS DURING THE INFANCY OF DISTRACTED DRIVING LAWS IN CALIFORNIA

 Caleb Lyu1, Mirna Ponce Jewell2, Jennifer Cloud3,  Lisa V. Smith3 and  Tony Kuo4*
  • 1Children's Medical Services, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, United States
  • 2Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, United States
  • 3Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, United States
  • 4Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, United States

Objective: To provide a baseline of various driving behaviors and to identify opportunities for prevention of distracted driving during the infancy of state laws that prohibited cellphone use while operating a motor vehicle, the 2010-11 Distracted Driving Survey collected information on multiple distracted driving behaviors from lower-income clients of three designated, multi-purpose public health centers in Los Angeles County.

Methods: Descriptive and multivariable negative binomial regression analyses were performed to examine patterns of driving distractions using the Distracted Driving Survey dataset (n=1051).

Results: The most common distractions included talking to other passengers (n=912, 86.8%); adjusting the radio, MP3, or cassette player (n=873, 83.1%); and adjusting other car controls (n=838, 79.7%). The median number of distinct distractions per survey participant was 11 (range: 0-32). Factors predicting the number of distinct distractions included being male (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06, 1.23), having a lower education (IRR: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.62, 0.84), and having more years of driving experience (IRR: 1.67; 95% CI: 1.33, 2.11). A variety of distractions, including cellphone use and texting, were predictive of increased motor vehicle crashes in the prior 12 months (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Distracted driving beyond cellphone use and texting were common in the survey sample, suggesting a need for additional public education and more inclusive distracted driving laws that cover these other activity types.

Keywords: Distracted driving, Distracted driving laws, low socioeconomic status residents, Cellphone use, other distractions

Received: 20 Apr 2019; Accepted: 12 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Allen C. Meadors, Independent researcher, United States

Reviewed by:

Birute Strukcinskiene, Klaipėda University, Lithuania
Timothy L. Taylor, Independent researcher, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Lyu, Ponce Jewell, Cloud, Smith and Kuo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Tony Kuo, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, California, United States, tkuo@ph.lacounty.gov