Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. Heather McGee

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of increasing following distance with prompting and feedback and whether any changes produced in following distance are associated with reductions in hard braking when drivers were using a cell phone and when drivers were not using a cell phone in a simulated driving environment. Participants were four university students 18-19 years of age. Following a baseline period, drivers were prompted to increase following distance, provided a specific target distance at the start of each session, and were given feedback on increasing following distance at the end of each session. The introduction of a treatment package was associated with an increase in following distance and a decrease in hard braking when participants were on or off the cell phone. A return to baseline was associated with a decrease in following distance and an increase in hard braking. There was no difference in the proportion of hard braking when drivers were on or off the cell phone. The increased following distance also transferred to times when the participant was not conversing on the cell phone in all four of the participants and there was partial maintenance of the treatment effect in two of the participants during the maintenance condition.

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