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Cell Phone Use While Driving: A Pattern of Risk in Young Novice Drivers

Academic Journal of Pediatrics and NeonatologyAbstract
Texting while driving is becoming more prevalent among young novice drivers, and has been specifically targeted as a risk factor for teen motor vehicle crashes. However, educational campaigns and prohibitive legislation for texting while driving have had minimal success. This may be because drivers who text while driving also take other risks that contribute to crashes (e.g. ignore speed limits). To assess this possibility in a community sample of young drivers, we used a modified version of the commonly used Driving Behavior Questionnaire (DBQ), and included two items to identify cell phone use while driving (calling and texting). Cell phone use correlated with prior citations and crashes, and loaded highly with other intentional violations (showing good construct validity) in an exploratory factor analysis. This suggests a pattern of risky driving behavior, of which texting is only one manifestation. Future research should examine the unique contribution of cell phone use as a risk for crashes in young drivers.