Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

A randomized trial to test the impact of parent communication on improving in-vehicle feedback systems

Peek-Asa, C.; Reyes, M.L.; Hamann, C.J.; Butcher, B.D.; Cavanaugh, J.E.


This randomized controlled trial evaluated the impact of integrating Steering Teens Safe, a parent communication intervention, with feedback from an in-vehicle video recording system. In-vehicle video systems that trigger a recording when the vehicle exceeds a g-force threshold have been used to provide feedback to young drivers. Few of these programs have involved parental engagement. Parent-teen dyads were randomized to three groups and 150 dyads completed the study. All groups received an in-vehicle video system that recorded driving events. The control group received no feedback or intervention. In the first intervention group, teens received real-time feedback, and parent-teen dyads received summary feedback, based on information recorded by the in-vehicle system. The second intervention group received the same feedback, plus parents were taught strategies to improve communication with their teen about safe driving. The primary outcome variable was unsafe driving event rates per 1000 miles driven and the primary independent variable was group assignment. Generalized linear models were used to calculate effect estimates. Compared with the control group, the Event Recorder Feedback group had a rate ratio of 0.35 (95% CI = 0.24 – 0.50) and the combined intervention group (Event Recorder Feedback and parent communication) had a rate ratio of 0.21 (95% CI = 0.15 – 0.30). Furthermore, the combined intervention group had a significantly lower event rate than the Event Recorder Feedback only group (rate ratio = 0.60, 95% CI = 0.41 – 0.87). While in-vehicle feedback systems can help reduce unsafe driving events in early independent driving, teaching parents strategies for effective communication with their young driver may further improve impact.