Education is critical to behavior change. A key area of focus for the NDDC is to educate drivers of all ages, employers and community stakeholders about the risks and consequences of distracted driving. Increasing public awareness and helping road users learn to recognize when they are distracted can encourage safer choices among those using the roads.


2021 priority

Create a centralized online resource for distracted driving materials.
Develop and launch an accessible distracted driving website which consolidates and shares research knowledge, tools and resources for diverse stakeholders to support distracted driving prevention initiatives. This website will be supported by a communications strategy to increase awareness and enable organizations to spend less time looking for information and more time taking action.

Action item was completed with the creation of the National Distracted Driving Coalition website. It was first launched in 2021 and re-launched in early 2023, designed by GeekTown USA. It includes links to the outputs for many of the completed action items and will be continuously updated as more action items are completed.


2021 priority

Conduct a national survey to identify mechanisms to change driver behavior and barriers which impede behavior change.
This initiative is a foundation for a national education campaign. Solutions and messaging associated with an educational campaign should be connected to the health belief model with respect to behavior change strategies. A focused effort to reach the diverse audience in the US and customizing our messages is essential. Many surveys have been conducted, but more exploration and analysis of strategies that work can help develop the most accurate and compelling messages. This survey is examining the potential of blocking apps as well as encouraging industry and the public to turn on these features.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a national survey in 2021, of 2,013 U.S. licensed drivers (ages 16 and older) to estimate the proportion of drivers according to demographic characteristics who regularly engaged in one or more secondary tasks across a variety of categories. Access the full press release and link to report: Smartphone apps drive gig workers, parents to distraction


2021 priority

Recommend that NHTSA evaluate the effectiveness of current national campaign themes (“U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”) and whether new approaches may be needed.


2021 priority

Develop educational messaging to increase awareness about the risks associated with hands-free communication technologies.
This initiative is important to increase awareness that hands-free phone use is not risk-free, and to communicate the limitations associated with other hands-free technologies as they become available. Such messaging can help inform drivers and encourage safe choices while driving.


2022 priority
Develop or identify campaign materials to educate passenger vehicle drivers about sharing the road with large trucks, with an emphasis on distraction-related risks.

These educational materials should be shareable and easily integrated into campaigns developed and delivered by many organizations at state and national levels. The FMCSA has “Our Roads, Our Safety Coalition” and may have some materials already available. Download: Sharing the Road with Commercial Vehicles


2021 priority

Work with children and youth to increase distracted driving prevention strategies.

Cultivating a younger generation of drivers who avoid distractions while driving can accelerate a shift in social norms to discourage distraction. Young children and young drivers are important influencers of parental behaviors if they are empowered to speak up when parents are driving distracted.

Project: Under the auspices of the National Distracted Driving Coalition, this project is being lead by in partnership with researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University. This project is designed to explore effective messaging about distracted driving for teen drivers. It is unique in that slogans and messages developed with teens during the first three phases of the project will be the foundation for the best high school film makers in the country to produce teen-specific PSAs. The study consists of five distinct phases with teens working with researchers in all phases. Those phases include:

  • in-depth interviews;
  • a national teen survey;
  • working with advisory groups of students, teachers and coaches at several schools;
  • working with talented high school film makers to produce PSAs; and,
  • testing of messages/PSA’s with experimental and control group schools.

Press release:
The National Distracted Driving Coalition is promoting Oct. 20, 2022, as National Do Not Disturb While Driving Day to highlight the continuing danger of using a cell phone while driving and educate the public about a feature that can help drivers avoid distraction.

Press release:
The National Distracted Driving Coalition (NDDC) strongly supports National Passenger Safety Week, which begins on Sunday, January 22 and encourages passengers to pledge to take action when their driver engages in distracted or unsafe behavior while responsible for their passengers’ safety. Empowering these passengers to speak up to reduce risky driving is the goal of this campaign.


2023/2024 Priority 

Understand the brain. Provide insight into the brain and ways increased access to advanced technology underlies distracted driving behaviors.
Summarize available research to educate the public about how the excessive use of technologies (i.e., cell phones, in-cab infotainment systems) can tap into naturally occurring neural mechanisms and are related to increased risk for distracted driving.