Nevin Manimala Statistics

Feedback and Financial Incentives for Reducing Cell Phone Use While Driving: A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Netw Open. 2024 Jul 1;7(7):e2420218. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.20218.


IMPORTANCE: Handheld phone use while driving is a major factor in vehicle crashes. Scalable interventions are needed to encourage drivers not to use their phones.

OBJECTIVE: To test whether interventions involving social comparison feedback and/or financial incentives can reduce drivers’ handheld phone use.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: In a randomized clinical trial, interventions were administered nationwide in the US via a mobile application in the context of a usage-based insurance program (Snapshot Mobile application). Customers were eligible to be invited to participate in the study if enrolled in the usage-based insurance program for 30 to 70 days. The study was conducted from May 13 to June 30, 2019. Analysis was completed December 22, 2023.

INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 6 trial arms for a 7-week intervention period: (1) control; (2) feedback, with weekly push notification about their handheld phone use compared with that of similar others; (3) standard incentive, with a maximum $50 award at the end of the intervention based on how their handheld phone use compared with similar others; (4) standard incentive plus feedback, combining interventions of arms 2 and 3; (5) reframed incentive plus feedback, with a maximum $7.15 award each week, framed as participant’s to lose; and (6) doubled reframed incentive plus feedback, a maximum $14.29 weekly loss-framed award.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE: Proportion of drive time engaged in handheld phone use in seconds per hour (s/h) of driving. Analyses were conducted with the intention-to-treat approach.

RESULTS: Of 17 663 customers invited by email to participate, 2109 opted in and were randomized. A total of 2020 drivers finished the intervention period (68.0% female; median age, 30 [IQR, 25-39] years). Median baseline handheld phone use was 216 (IQR, 72-480) s/h. Relative to control, feedback and standard incentive participants did not reduce their handheld phone use. Standard incentive plus feedback participants reduced their use by -38 (95% CI, -69 to -8) s/h (P = .045); reframed incentive plus feedback participants reduced their use by -56 (95% CI, -87 to -26) s/h (P < .001); and doubled reframed incentive plus feedback participants reduced their use by -42 s/h (95% CI, -72 to -13 s/h; P = .007). The 5 active treatment arms did not differ significantly from each other.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this randomized clinical trial, providing social comparison feedback plus incentives reduced handheld phone use while individuals were driving.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT03833219.

PMID:38985474 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.20218

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala