High Visibility Enforcement Demonstration Programs in Connecticut and New York Reduce Hand-Held Phone Use

Driving while distracted increases the likelihood of a crash (NHTSA, 2010), and recent well-publicized events have brought this unsafe driving behavior to the forefront of the public eye. According to CTIA-The Wireless Association (2009) about 285 million Americans (91% of all Americans) now own cell phones, compared to only 1 million in 1987. The National Health Interview Survey (Blumberg & Luke, 2010) found that nearly one in four households were wireless only (no land line), up nearly 2 percentage points from the year before. The popularity of text messaging is increasing, and videotaped footage of drivers who were texting immediately before a crash has circulated widely on television and the Internet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 6% of drivers nationwide were using an electronic device at any given time in 2008 (Pickrell & Ye, 2009. A meta-analysis (Horrey & Wickens, 2006) of 23 experiments that measured the effects of cell phone use on driving performance found that, across all studies, reaction times were consistently slower when using a cell phone than when not using a phone. To address this problem, NHTSA initiated distracted driving demonstration programs in two communities to test whether a high visibility enforcement (HVE) model could reduce two specific instances of distracted driving -- talking or texting using a hand-held cell phone. The HVE model combines dedicated law enforcement during a specific period, paid and earned media emphasizing an enforcement-based message, and evaluation before and after. Click It or Ticket, NHTSA’s best known and most successful HVE campaign for seat belt use, has also been effective in areas of aggressive driving and impaired driving. This report summarizes results from the first two of four waves of enforcement and media for distracted driving high visibility enforcement campaigns in two communities.


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  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 8p
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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01354103
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-811 376
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 14 2011 3:24PM