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Accid Anal Prev. 2017 Feb;99(Pt A):372-378. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2016.12.016. Epub 2017 Jan 6.

Measuring a conceptual model of the relationship between compulsive cell phone use, in-vehicle cell phone use, and motor vehicle crash.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville, 408 E. Chestnut Ave, Suite 610, Louisville, KY 40202, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Psychological Sciences, Western Kentucky University, 3074 Gary Ransdell Hall, 1906 College Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY, 42101, United States.
Department of Health Promotion and Policy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Arnold House, 715 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, United States.
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington, Patricia Bracelin Steel Memorial Building, 401 Broadway, 4th floor, Seattle, WA 98122, United States; Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St., Health Sciences Building, Seattle, WA 98195, United States; Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children's Hospital, 2001 Eighth Ave., Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98121, United States.



Previous research suggests that anticipation of incoming phone calls or messages and impulsivity are significantly associated with motor vehicle crash. We took a more explanative approach to investigate a conceptual model regarding the direct and indirect effect of compulsive cell phone use and impulsive personality traits on crash risk.


We recruited a sample of 307 undergraduate college students to complete an online survey that included measures of cell phone use, impulsivity, and history of motor vehicle crash. Using a structural equation model, we examined the direct and indirect relationships between factors of the Cell Phone Overuse Scale-II (CPOS-II), impulsivity, in-vehicle phone use, and severity and frequency of previous motor vehicle crash. Self-reported miles driven per week and year in college were included as covariates in the model.


Our findings suggest that anticipation of incoming communication has a direct association with greater in-vehicle phone use, but was not directly or indirectly associated with increasing risk of previous motor vehicle crash. Of the three latent factors comprising the CPOS-II, only anticipation was significantly associated with elevated cell phone use while driving. Greater impulsivity and use of in-vehicle cell phone use while driving were directly and significantly associated with greater risk of motor vehicle crash.


Anticipation of incoming cellular contacts (calls or texts) is associated with greater in-vehicle phone use, while greater in-vehicle cell phone use and impulsive traits are associated with elevated risk of motor vehicle crashes.


Accident risk; Cell phone use; Distracted driving; Motor vehicle crashes

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