Texting and driving, distracted driving, teen, high school student, rural, West Virginia


Social Psychology


In the last decade, texting and driving has evolved into a serious problem among the adolescent population. The goal of this study was to determine if education can effectively raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving and positively influence the behavior of rural West Virginia teens. A 25 question survey designed to asses teen driving behavior was administered to 143 rural West Virginia high school students before and after and educational session. The educational session was designed to explain how texting and driving impairs driving ability and show graphic images of accidents and injuries that resulted from this behavior. Pre and post-lecture survey responses were then analyzed. The survey results revealed that texting and driving is highly prevalent among rural West Virginia teens, with 57% of teens admitting to this behavior. Around 73% of teens agreed that texting and driving was very dangerous, but many continued to do so regardless. Additionally, 59% admitted to talking on the phone while driving, and 11% admitted to drinking and driving. A single lecture was not observed to reduce texting and driving behavior among the study population. More research is needed to establish an effective method to reduce this dangerous behavior.