Smartphone use while driving

Hearty congratulations to Fareed Kaviani (a PhD candidate in Monash’s Behaviour Change – Graduate Research Industry Placement (BC-GRIP) program that I am working with) on the publication of three (!!) articles from his doctoral research this year. They are based on a large survey he conducted with 2838 drivers in Victoria, Australia, on their use of smartphones while driving. I learnt a lot working with Fareed and his other two supervisors – Sjaan Koppel and Kristie Young – on this project, and on these publications:

Kaviani, F., Robards, B., Young, K. L., & Koppel, S. (2020). Nomophobia: Is the Fear of Being without a Smartphone Associated with Problematic Use?. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(17), 6024.

Kaviani, F., Young, K. L., Robards, B., & Koppel, S. (2020). Nomophobia and self-reported smartphone use while driving: An investigation into whether nomophobia can increase the likelihood of illegal smartphone use while driving. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour74, 212-224.

Kaviani, F., Young, K. L., Robards, B., & Koppel, S. (2020). Understanding the deterrent impact formal and informal sanctions have on illegal smartphone use while driving. Accident Analysis & Prevention145, 105706.

As I have come to understand through Fareed’s project, driver distraction is a significant challenge and risk, resulting in many crashes and deaths, and smartphone use while driving is a major component of this. Young people are particularly at risk here as phone use, and always being connected, is normalised and routine. In the car though, this can be very risky. How do we resolve this tension between the productive and social functions of phone use with the risks of using a phone while driving, especially for young people? Fareed’s research provides important new contributions to our understanding of driver distraction related to smartphone use.