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Multipronged approach to stopping distracted driving

Distracted driving is a massive problem in Maryland and nationwide. While eating, drinking and other activities can be troublesome, a study of 2,000 drivers shows that about 50% of drivers report performing at least one phone-based activity on most or all drives within the last month. This behavior is especially prevalent if the driver is a parent or works for a ridesharing program.

Health Belief Model may reduce distracted driving

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has developed a plan called the Health Belief Model, which it hopes will reduce the number of people driving while distracted. Using a series of 50 questions, participants are asked to identify their current behavior, barriers preventing them from changing it and cues that might cause them to change their behavior. Researchers are hopeful that getting people to recognize their behavior and giving them cues that they need to change may help reduce the number of auto accidents caused by distracted driving.

Stop distracted driving agreements

The IIHS also encourages drivers to sign a pledge that they will not drive while distracted. It is basing the promise on one Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute developed. This program concentrates on teaching teens not to drive while distracted. Researchers point out that teen drivers are likely to copy what they have seen their parents do throughout their lives.

Know your vehicle

Some drivers know that their car’s infotainment system can block messages, but they may not realize that the system can be turned on automatically in some vehicles as soon as someone starts driving. They may also not know that the system in some cars can be set to allow messages from selected individuals.

Researchers are hopeful that reminding parents that their children are watching them is enough to get them to change their distracted driving behaviors.