Community narratives on Facebook regarding mobile phone use while driving and road policing technologies

K. B. Stefanidis*, C. Schiemer, J. Freeman, K. Mulgrew, O. Oviedo-Trespalacios, V. Truelove

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: Mobile phone use while driving is a major cause of distraction and area for concern. Numerous factors have been shown to be associated with engagement in mobile phone use while driving, including peer influences and social media content encouraging the behavior. Phone detection cameras are being increasingly utilized to enforce the hand-held mobile phone use while driving ban in Australia, yet this has been accompanied by an emergence of camera location pages on social media platforms such as Facebook. Research is clearly needed to explore the nature and extent of this online content, since such information can be used to counteract any negative effects on enforcement. Methods: Accordingly, this exploratory study analyzed content on Facebook pertaining to mobile phone use while driving, enforcement of the behavior and legal penalties associated with the behavior. Results: A total of 167 public Facebook posts shared within Australia in January to October 2021 were examined. Overall, it was found that: (a) a large proportion (74%) of posts focused on the location of mobile phone cameras, (b) whilst most discussions centered around discouraging mobile phone use while driving, a large number also aimed to facilitate avoiding detection for the behavior. Finally, very few posts/comments acknowledged the risks associated with the behavior, including the risk of being caught. Conclusions: This research provides preliminary evidence that social media platforms appear to provide an avenue to reduce the likelihood of apprehension. Avenues for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-598
Number of pages7
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Volume24
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • content analysis
  • cyberpsychology
  • misuse of technology
  • phone detection cameras
  • Phone use while driving

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