Texting while driving is a dangerous activity that’s on the rise in America (U.S.). Since 2011, a 17 percent gain in the number of people hurt in an automobile crash involving a distracted driver. Bans on texting and driving have already taken place in 46 states in the U.S., but studies have demonstrated they are ineffective. An unstudied way of decreasing texting while driving is sticker reminders.
Sticker reminders have already been shown to be an effective intervention in the world of driver safety; a single study found that a “Buckle-Up” dashboard sticker doubled up the use of safety belts by front-seat passengers. In this study, 104 medical students aged 21 – 29 in the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine were randomly divided into two classes, an interventional group receiving a”Drive in the Moment” windshield decal, and a control group not getting the decal. Both teams took a pre-and post-survey that listed self-reported texting and driving frequency.
The results showed the decal intervention significantly reduced reported rates of sending texts while driving, studying texts while driving, and using social media while driving (p < 0.05). The study results suggest that a publication sticker-intervention could potentially function as a point of attack when addressing the dangerous and growing texting while driving the epidemic.
With texting rates and driving a steady growth, the exploration of novel solutions, such as this decal intervention, is crucial to prevent fatal car accidents that claim the lives of tens of thousands each year. A simple sticker intervention in this study could reduce self-reported texting while driving behavior, at least briefly. Mindfulness scores didn’t change before and after the decal intervention, and we found no correlation between texting while driving and mindfulness. Future studies are warranted to investigate the longevity of the observed sticker effect, in addition to the real-life consequences of the reported decrease in behaviors.
The same as the warning light to seat-beltless drivers in recently made vehicles, sticker reminders could be built to the automobiles’ windshields, serving as a constant visual reminder to not text while driving. Insurance companies could perhaps give discounts for drivers who have anti-texting decals if they’re found to decrease this dangerous behavior. The texting while causing outbreak needs to have a point of attack; this decal intervention could serve as a simple yet effective initial move.