Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Family Communication Patterns and Teen Driving Intervention Effectiveness

Hamann, C.; Schwab-Reese, L.; O'Neal, E.E.; Butcher, B.; Yang, J.; Peek-Asa, C.
Jan-09-2019

Abstract

Objectives

Teen drivers are at increased crash risk, largely due to lack of experience. Parents play a key role in influencing teen behaviors and attitudes around driving safety. Parent-involved interventions may improve teen driving safety but tend to be resource intensive and have limited scalability. In this study, we examined how family communication patterns (FCPs) impact teen risky driving and the effectiveness of a parent-focused teen driving intervention. 

Methods

Our data came from a large randomized controlled teen driving intervention trial. We randomized parent-teen dyads into one of 3 groups: parent communication intervention plus in-vehicle event recorder feedback; in-vehicle event recorder feedback only ; or control. The primary outcome variable was teen risky driving (self-reports and triggered events); the primary exposure variables were FCPs and intervention group. We used generalized linear models to calculate effect estimates. 

Results

Teens' baseline risky driving did not vary by family communication pattern. The impact of the parent-focused intervention was stronger in families with a laissez-faire FCP. The laissez-faire FCP focuses little on child conformity and downplays communication. 

Conclusions

These results provide a framework for targeting high-resource teen driving interventions (event recorder feedback and parent-communication training) to families with laissez-faire communication patterns to attain the greatest risk reductions.