Adolescent Pedestrian Safety and Electronic Devices

Baswail, Amal Ahmed (2020) Adolescent Pedestrian Safety and Electronic Devices. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Adolescent Pedestrian Safety and Electronic Devices
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
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Abstract

Mobile phones and other portable electronic devices may be common distractions to adolescent pedestrians that may increase their risk of traffic injury. The aims of this thesis were to examine the effects of portable electronic devices such as mobile phones on adolescent pedestrians’ behaviour, attention to pedestrian scenes and risk-awareness. The study also sought to investigate age differences, gender differences, risk-taking, self-regulation and mobile phone experience to determine the issue of whether the pedestrian skills of some adolescents are more adversely affected by mobile phones than others. The issue of whether road safety messages for adolescent pedestrians using mobile phones could be improved was also considered. In order to accomplish the main aims of the study, several methods were used - namely: systematic review methods, observation methods, experimental methods, content analysis and interviews with adolescents to analyse their opinions on safety education messages.

The observation study reported in Chapter 3 investigated whether using mobile phones distracts adolescent attention while crossing the road. More than 3000 road crossings made by school-aged adolescents were observed. It was found that 31.37% of road crossings were made by adolescents with a phone or other device. It was also noted that the safety of adolescent pedestrians was affected by mobile phones and other devices. They looked left and right before crossing the road less frequently when they had an electronic device with them, particularly when looking at the screen and when texting or swiping. The rates of unsafe pedestrian behaviour in relation to technology use were similar for males and females. It was concluded that the safety of adolescent pedestrians is considerably affected by mobile phones and music-playing devices.

Experiments conducted with 50 participants aged from 11 - 17 years, reported in Chapter 4, used photographs of pedestrian scenes to investigate: (1) phone distraction for allocation of attention to features of pedestrian scenes and; (2) understanding of the dangers of different ways of using mobile phones at the roadside. The results showed that adolescents were able to avoid phone distractions and pay attention to the relevant features of a pedestrian scene in controlled experimental conditions. There were no age or gender differences and no significant correlation between attention to changes in pedestrian scenes, self-regulation, risk taking or experience of mobile phone ownership. Participants were aware of the risks of using a mobile phone at the roadside and they identified looking and listening to a phone as being more dangerous than holding it. However, their understanding of the dangers of phones for road safety was not always clear.

Road safety education that uses the information from these studies could help to improve adolescent pedestrian safety. Therefore, Chapter 5 examined 40 road safety websites and found that there were very few that included advice or information about mobile phone distractions for adolescent pedestrians. Chapter 6 examined adolescents’ opinions regarding a selection of pedestrian safety information about mobile phones and what they thought would be a good way to inform other adolescents about the risks of using mobile phones when crossing a road. Participants advised that oral communication is the most effective way to increase road safety awareness about the use of the mobile phones while crossing the road or being around traffic.

In conclusion, it is clear that the road safety of adolescent pedestrians is affected by portable electronic devices. Going forward, therefore, initiatives such as road safety messages in an appropriate format that would appeal to and engage with adolescents are needed to reduce the risks of road traffic injury to adolescents.

Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:46246
Deposited On:27 Aug 2021 14:17

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