The use of risk homeostasis theory to reduce smartphone use during low-speed driving

Erez Kita, Gil Luria, Shani Pindek, Gila Albert, Tsippy Lotan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Driving while distracted by smartphones is an unsafe behavior and constitutes a serious worldwide road safety issue. In line with the risk homeostasis theory, during high-speed driving, drivers perceive smartphone usage as an unwarranted risk and in most cases refrain from doing so. During low-speed driving, however, drivers often use their smartphones, as they do not perceive this as inherently unsafe, even though it is. The goal of this study was to examine an intervention, based on the risk homeostasis theory, aimed at decreasing the use of smartphones while driving at low speeds. Thirty-seven young drivers participated in the research group that aimed to alter drivers’ risk perceptions, decision making, and behavior. The study also included a control group of 33 young drivers. All of the participants’ smartphone usage was monitored using a dedicated application that measured both the number of times drivers touched their smartphone screens while driving and the driving speed each time the screen was touched. The results indicate that drivers in the research group decreased their smartphone usage while driving, unlike the control group drivers who did not alter their behavior. In conclusion, a risk homeostasis-based intervention can decrease dangerous and unsafe driving behavior, even when such behavior is not perceived as significantly dangerous. Furthermore, additional types of risky and unsafe driving behaviors may be decreased using this type of intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106596
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to the research team from The Ran Naor Foundation: Oren Musicant, Ilit Oppenheim, Sasha Harel, Yael Nave, and Ofra Bigger. Thanks also to Shai Tal and Zvika Beer from Or Yarok. Many thanks to the Israeli Association of the Insurance Companies for the financial support. Exceptional thanks are due to Tomer Chen and Vika Beckerman for their effort, support, and cooperation in managing the technical issues.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Decreased smartphone usage
  • Low driving speeds
  • Risk homeostasis theory
  • Young drivers, texting while driving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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