Conference Proceeding

Novice Teenage Driver Cell Phone Use Prevalence

Authors: , , , , ,


Novice teenage drivers have high crash rates due to inexperience; therefore, cell phone-related secondary task engagement (distracted driving) is likely to aggravate crash risk for this population. A previous study of teenage distracted driving behavior, found that 34% of 16-17- year-olds had texted, and 52% reported talking on a cell phone while driving (Madden & Lenhart, 2009). In the current study, data from the NEXT Generation Health Study were analyzed to estimate the prevalence of cell phone-related distracted driving in a nationally representative sample of U.S. eleventh grade students, the age when most teenagers are first eligible to receive a license to drive independently. Using the subsample of teenagers that reported having a license that allowed independent, driving (n = 881), the prevalence of cell phone-related distracted driving was estimated. Nationwide, four out of five (80.0%) teenage drivers reported making or receiving a call, and 72.0% reported sending or receiving a text message at least one day in the past 30 days. In addition, teenagers reported talking on 32.6% and texting on 40.3% of the days they drove. Access to a vehicle, the number of miles teenagers drove each day (the more driving the more phone use), and race/ethnicity (Asians had lower cell phone use than Whites, Hispanics, or African-Americans), were significantly associated with cell phone-related distracted driving. These findings indicate a higher prevalence of teenage cell phone use while driving than previous studies. More research is needed to understand predictors, safety outcomes, and prevention approaches for teenage distracted driving.


How to Cite: Ehsani, J. , Brooks-Russell, A. , Li, K. , Perlus, J. , Pradhan, A. & Simmons-Morton, B. (2013) “Novice Teenage Driver Cell Phone Use Prevalence”, Driving Assessment Conference. 7(2013). doi: