Purpose: To create an evidence-based, immersive, interactive eLearning program for teens and young adults to prevent impaired and distracted driving

iRT safe driving getting into car



Car crashes are the leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults.

Impaired driving, including drunk, drugged, and drowsy driving, as well as distracted driving, are common causes of car crashes in this age group. This issue couldn’t be more timely; as of the first quarter of 2022, the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that motor vehicle traffic fatalities are at a 20-year high.

While progress has been made reducing drunk driving among teens over the last several decades, alcohol is still involved in about 25% of (or 1 in 4) teen driving fatalities. Drug-impaired driving is a critical and growing problem, particularly with the availability and growing use of marijuana. Drowsy driving, which can result from illness, substance misuse, or lack of sleep, is a dangerous and often overlooked issue. Distracted driving, particularly by cell phones, is a great risk for teens as well and responsible for thousands of fatalities each year.

While teens may learn about the presence of these issues, research-based prevention materials that effectively teach skills to prevent impaired and distracted driving are few.

The Plan My Ride program is an innovative online eLearning program that teaches key skills to avoid impaired and distracted driving and includes immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences to practice new skills in realistic scenarios. Plan My Ride was developed for high school and college age drivers. The program is informed by the Integrated Behavioral Model and focuses on changing attitudes such as the perceived dangerousness and outcome expectancies of impaired/distracted driving, perceived social norms, and self-efficacy to find alternatives to impaired/distracted driving, as well as the skills to identify and implement these alternatives. Microlearning booster content was developed to reinforce the program content and help users develop safe driving habits. In addition, to promote effective implementation of the program, group leader implementation resources were also developed.  

The usability of the virtual reality video experience was tested and the impact of the Plan My Ride program was evaluated in an immediate post-test and three-month follow-up.




Stelter, R. L., Kupersmidt, J. B., & Rabiner, S. (2014, September). Drugged driving research and prevention. Paper presented at the 2014 National Prevention Network Annual Conference: Seattle, WA.


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