A preliminary study of sexual activity as a distraction for young drivers

Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Oct:71:120-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.04.013. Epub 2014 Jun 10.


In what may be the first in-depth study of sexual activity as a driving distraction in the US, a sample of 195 male and 511 female college students at a Midwestern university (M age=19.7) participated in an on-line study of sex while driving (SWD). Of these, 64 (32.8%) men and 47 (9.3%) women had engaged in sex while driving (SWD). Nine percent of men and 29% of women had engaged in SWD as a passenger. In most recent SWD incidents, respondents reported that the two most common acts were oral sex (70.3%) and genital touching (60.4%). About 11% engaged in vaginal intercourse. Sexual activity lasted from 1 to 10min for 42.7% of the respondents. Nearly half (49.1%) were traveling 61-80mph during sex. Considering respondents' lifetime incidents of SWD, the most common driving errors reported were speeding (37.8%), drifting into another lane (36%), and letting go of the steering wheel (10.8%). Only 1.8% nearly had a crash, and none actually had a crash. Separate regression analyses for male and female respondents revealed that lower intentions to engage in SWD in the future were associated with higher estimates of the probability of a car crash. The authors consider SWD to be an under-reported in-vehicle distraction and encourage more research and prevention efforts.

Keywords: Distracted driving; Sex while driving; Young drivers.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention
  • Attitude*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Young Adult