“I Snapchat and Drive!” A mixed methods approach examining snapchat use while driving and deterrent perceptions among young adults

This research utilised a qualitative and quantitative study to examine a sample of young drivers’ perceptions of deterrent forces, both legal and non-legal, for the behaviour of phone use while driving. First, focus groups were conducted with 60 drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 years who resided in Queensland, Australia. This qualitative study utilised an inductive approach to elicit participants’ perceptions without omitting important ideas. Legal sanctions were associated with low perceptions of enforcement certainty. Meanwhile, the only non-legal sanction to emerge was the concept of “safety”; many participants were deterred from using their phone while driving for fear of injury or death to themselves or others. The types of social media most likely to be engaged in were explored and sending videos or photos via the application Snapchat emerged as the most common social media application used among the sample. Consequently, the subsequent quantitative study focused on deterrent forces associated with Snapchat use while driving. A survey was utilised with a separate sample of young drivers aged 17–25 years (n = 503). The impact of the threat of legal sanctions on Snapchat use while driving was examined through classical deterrence theory and Stafford and Warr’s (1993) reconceptualised deterrence theory. The non-legal factor of perceived safety was also included in the quantitative study. None of the classical deterrence variables (e.g., certainty, severity and swiftness) reached significance while all the reconceptualised deterrence variables (e.g., direct and indirect punishment and punishment avoidance), as well as perceived safety, were significant predictors of Snapchat use while driving. It is suggested that perceptions of certainty of apprehension need to be increased for phone use while driving. The findings show the current impact of deterrent initiatives for phone use while driving as well as provide the first examination of deterrents for the specific mobile phone behaviour of Snapchat use while driving.


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  • Accession Number: 01712780
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 2 2019 3:16PM