Distracted DrivingThe Dangers of Distracted Driving

A study by: Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D. and Lesley Ross, Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham
(STRIDE Project 2012-095 A Naturalistic Driving Study across the Lifespan)

Dr. Despina Stavrinos of UAB, one of the lead researchers of the STRIDE funded project titled A Naturalistic Driving Study across the Lifespan, was featured in a radio segment broadcast of a Public Health Minute on the dangers of distracted driving. The study focuses on teens as they are the most frequent users of technology behind the wheel. The Public Health Minute is hosted by Dr. Bill Latimer Professor and Chair of the Department of Clinical & Health Psychology at UF’s College of Public Health & Health Professions.  Public Health Minute airs on WUFT 89.7 public radio and is produced in collaboration with the University of Florida College of Journalism. Public Health Minute reflects a priority to implement innovative ways to reach the public to promote health.

Listen to the Segment: soundcloud.com/publichealthminute/phm-teen-driving-safety-dr


Host:  Dr. William Latimer, Elizabeth Faulk Professor and Chair, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida

Guest: Dr. Despina Stavrinos, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Latimer: 40% of teens in the US report having been in a car where the driver was using a cell phone, which increases crash risk by 4 times.
Dr. Despina Stavrinos, Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham studies driving safety. Despina, tell us about your work.

Dr. Stavrinos:  My research focuses on the impact of distraction on drivers. While distraction can be dangerous for all drivers, we focus particularly on teens because they are the most inexperienced drivers on the road and the most frequent users of technology behind the wheel. 

Dr. Latimer:  How is distracted driving defined?

Dr. Stavrinos: Research has characterized distraction as anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and your mind off the road. Everyone thinks that they are a great multitasker, but that is simply not the case when you consider the thousands who are killed and hundreds of thousands injured each year due to distracted driving related incidents.

Dr. Latimer:  This has been a Public Health Minute from the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.  I’m Bill Latimer. 

More information on distracted driving awareness:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Website for Distracted Driving http://www.distraction.gov/

The UAB Translational Research for Injury Prevention Laboratory http://triplaboratory.com/about-us/

Pictured above is Dr. Despina Stavrinos of UAB in a driving simulator.