Adolescent and adult drivers’ mobile phone use while driving with different interlocutors 2017
Purpose: We examined the frequency of adolescents’ and their parents’ mobile phone use while driving
(MPUWD) in the context of their peer and parent-child interlocutors (i.e., communication partners), considering
individual differences in perceived risk and symptoms of technology addiction.
Methods: Ninety-four participants (47 parent-adolescent dyads) completed a survey battery measuring their
symptoms of technology addiction, perceived risk of MPUWD, and MPUWD with family members and with their
peers as assessed via the proportion of trips when drivers used a mobile phone to communicate.
Results: For both adolescents and their parents across both types of interlocutors (parent-child, peer), stronger
risk perceptions were associated with less MPUWD, and stronger symptoms of technology addiction were
associated with more MPUWD. A three-way interaction among technology addiction, interlocutor (parent-child,
peer), and driver (parent, adolescent) was observed. For adolescents, the association between technology
addiction and MPUWD was significantly stronger for MPUWD with their peers than it was for their MPUWD with
their parents; this association was not observed for parents. Parents engaged in MPUWD with their children as
frequently as adolescents engaged in MPUWD with their peers.
Conclusions: Symptoms of technology addiction play a stronger role for adolescents’ MPUWD with their peers
than it does for adolescents’ MPUWD with their parents. These and other driver-by-interlocutor interactions
should be considered in future research on distracted driving and in prevention efforts.