Effectiveness of a Text Message Intervention to Reduce Texting While Driving Among Targeted Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial



      This randomized clinical trial tested the efficacy of a 6-week text message program to reduce texting while driving (TWD) for young adults.


      Eligible individuals recruited from four emergency departments from December 2019 to June 2021 were aged 18–25 years who reported TWD in the past 2 weeks. Participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to intervention:assessment control. The intervention arm (n = 57) received an automated interactive text message program, including weekly queries about TWD for 6 weeks with feedback and goal support to promote cessation of TWD. The assessment control arm (n = 55) received identical weekly TWD queries but no additional feedback. Outcomes were collected via web-based self-assessments at 6- and 12 weeks and analyzed under intent-to-treat models, presented as adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


      The mean (SD) age was 21.7 (2.1) years, 73 (65%) were female, and 40 (36%) were White. The 6-week follow-up rate was 77.7% (n = 87) and 12-week follow-up rate was 64.3% (n = 72). At 6 weeks, 52.6% (95% CI, 39.0%–66.0%) of intervention participants reported TWD versus 63.6% (95% CI, 49.6%–76.2%) of control participants (adjusted OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.32–1.59). At 12 weeks, 38.2% (95% CI, 22.8%–53.5%) of intervention participants reported TWD versus 69.3% (95% CI, 53.8%–84.7%) of control participants (adjusted OR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.11–0.80).


      An interactive text message intervention was more effective at reducing self-reported TWD among young adults than assessment control at 12 weeks.


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      Linked Article

      • Intervening at the Fingertips: A Text-Based Approach to Mitigating Texting While Driving
        Journal of Adolescent HealthVol. 71Issue 4
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          Despite a demonstrable increase in legislation and public health interventions during the last few decades, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) remain the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) in the United States [1]. Recent data show that MVCs among this age group are despairingly on the rise after several years of progressive decline [2]. Multiple risk factors contribute to these sobering statistics, but overwhelming evidence supports a strong association between distracted driving and an increased risk of MVC, particularly among young, inexperienced drivers [3–5].
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