Active prompting to decrease cell phone use and increase seat belt use while driving


Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for those aged 3 to 33, with 43,005 (118 per day) Americans killed in 2002 alone. Seat belt use reduces the risk of serious injury in an accident, and refraining from using a cell phone while driving reduces the risk of an accident. Cell phone use while driving increases accident rates, and leads to 2,600 U.S. fatalities each year. An active prompting procedure was employed to increase seat belt use and decrease cell phone use among drivers exiting a university parking lot. A multiple baseline with reversal design was used to evaluate the presentation of two signs: "Please Hang Up, I Care" and "Please Buckle Up, I Care." The proportion of drivers who complied with the seat belt prompt was high and in line with previous research. The proportion of drivers who hung up their cell phones in response to the prompt was about equal to that of the seat belt prompt. A procedure that reduces cell phone use among automobile drivers is a significant contribution to the behavioral safety literature.

Document Type





Active prompting, Behavioral safety, Cell phones, Flash for life, Seat belts

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis