Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Factors Associated with Cell Phone Use While Driving: A Survey of Parents and Caregivers of Children Ages 4-10 Years

TitleFactors Associated with Cell Phone Use While Driving: A Survey of Parents and Caregivers of Children Ages 4-10 Years
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMcDonald CC, Kennedy E, Fleisher L, Zonfrillo MR
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Date Published07/2018
Type of ArticleOnline First
Keywordsalcohol, booster seat, car seat, cell phones, child restraint system, distracted driving, motor vehicle crash, seat belt

To examine characteristics associated with cell phone use while driving by parents and caregivers of children ages 4-10 years.

Study design
National cross-sectional online survey with a convenience sample (March 2017-April 2017). Inclusion criteria: Parent/caregiver of a child age 4-10 years in their home, age ≥18 years, read and spoke English, and drove child ≥6 times in previous 3 months. Adjusted logistic regression analyses were modeled for outcome measures of previous 3-month self-report cell phone use while driving with the child.

The analytic sample was n = 760. In the previous 3 months, 47% of parent/caregivers talked on a hand-held phone, 52.2% talked on a hands-free phone, 33.7% read texts, 26.7% sent texts, and 13.7% used social media while driving with their child in the vehicle. Compared with those who always used their typical child restraint system, participants who did not always use were more likely to talk on a hands-free phone (aOR 1.97, 95% CI 1.26-3.09), read a text (aOR 1.74, 95% CI 1.11-2.73), send a text (aOR 1.65, 95% CI 1.04-2.62), and use social media (aOR 2.92, 95% CI 1.73-4.94) while driving. Higher income, not wearing a seat belt (driver) on every trip, and driving under influence of alcohol also were associated with various types of cell phone use while driving.

Inconsistent child restraint system use, lack of seat belt use, and driving under the influence of alcohol are associated with parent/caregiver cell phone use while driving. Screening and education related to parental driving behaviors should include addressing multiple risk behaviors.