The effect on teenage risky driving of feedback from a safety monitoring system: a randomized controlled trial

J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jul;53(1):21-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.11.008. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


Purpose: Teenage risky driving may be due to teenagers not knowing what is risky, preferring risk, or the lack of consequences. Elevated gravitational-force (g-force) events, caused mainly by hard braking and sharp turns, provide a valid measure of risky driving and are the target of interventions using in-vehicle data recording and feedback devices. The effect of two forms of feedback about risky driving events to teenagers only or to teenagers and their parents was tested in a randomized controlled trial.

Methods: Ninety parent-teen dyads were randomized to one of two groups: (1) immediate feedback to teens (Lights Only); or (2) immediate feedback to teens plus family access to event videos and ranking of the teen relative to other teenage drivers (Lights Plus). Participants' vehicles were instrumented with data recording devices and events exceeding .5 g were assessed for 2 weeks of baseline and 13 weeks of feedback.

Results: Growth curve analysis with random slopes yielded a significant decrease in event rates for the Lights Plus group (slope = -.11, p < .01), but no change for the Lights Only group (slope = .05, p = .67) across the 15 weeks. A large effect size of 1.67 favored the Lights Plus group.

Conclusions: Provision of feedback with possible consequences associated with parents being informed reduced risky driving, whereas immediate feedback only to teenagers did not.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety* / statistics & numerical data