Feasibility of a Computer-Delivered Driver Safety Behavior Screening and Intervention Program Initiated During an Emergency Department Visit

Mary Murphy, Lucia Smith, Anton Palma, David Lounsbury, Polly Bijur, Paul Chambers, E. John Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are a significant public health problem. The emergency department (ED) provides a setting that may be used to screen for behaviors that increase risk for motor vehicle crashes and provide brief interventions to people who might otherwise not have access to screening and intervention. The purpose of the present study was to (1) assess the feasibility of using a computer-assisted screening program to educate ED patients about risky driving behaviors, (2) evaluate patient acceptance of the computer-based traffic safety educational intervention during an ED visit, and (3) assess postintervention changes in risky driving behaviors.Methods: Pre/posteducational intervention involving medically stable adult ED patients in a large urban academic ED serving over 100,000 patients annually. Patients completed a self-administered, computer-based program that queried patients on risky driving behaviors (texting, talking, and other forms of distracted driving) and alcohol use. The computer provided patients with educational information on the dangers of these behaviors and data were collected on patient satisfaction with the program. Staff called patients 1 month post-ED visit for a repeat query.Results: One hundred forty-nine patients participated, and 111 completed 1-month follow up (75%); the mean age was 39 (range: 21-70), 59 percent were Hispanic, and 52 percent were male. Ninety-seven percent of patients reported that the program was easy to use and that they were comfortable receiving this education via computer during their ED visit. All driving behaviors significantly decreased in comparison to baseline with the following reductions reported: talking on the phone, 30 percent; aggressive driving, 30 percent; texting while driving, 19 percent; drowsy driving, 16 percent; driving while multitasking, 12 percent; and drinking and driving, 9 percent.Conclusions: Overall, patients were very satisfied receiving educational information about these behaviors via computer during their ED visits and found the program easy to use. We found a high prevalence of self-reported risky driving behaviors in our ED population. At 1-month follow-up, patients reported a significant decrease in these behaviors. This study indicates that a low-intensity, computer-based educational intervention during an ED visit may be a useful approach to educate patients about safe driving behaviors and safe drinking limits and help promote behavior change.Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Traffic Injury Prevention to view the supplemental file.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • brief intervention
  • driver safety behavior
  • emergency department
  • screening
  • traffic safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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