Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #442
Behavior Analysis and Traffic Safety: Evidence-Based Solutions
Monday, May 31, 2010
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Republic B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: OBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Behavior Analysis has made large contribution to traffic safety with many of our procedures in wide use. This symposium looks at evidence based treatments to increase seatbelt use, increasing the use of designated drivers to reduced impaired driving, reducing speeding, and increasing following distance.
An Analysis of a Contingency Program on Designated Drivers at a College Bar
RICHARD KAZBOUR (Florida State University), Jon S. Bailey (Florida State University)
Abstract: Society places a great deal of effort on applying consequences such as negative reinforcement and punishment as they pertain to drinking and driving. Success might be more easily obtained by providing positive reinforcement for the responsible behavior associated with having a designated driver, as opposed to providing those punishing consequences for the irresponsible behaviors associated with drinking and driving. The present study evaluated the effects of prompts and incentives to increase the number of designated drivers at a college bar. The dependent variable was the total ratio of customers to those who were part of a group with a designated driver. A designated driver was defined as anyone who identified themselves as a designated driver, had at least one accompanying passenger, agreed to a breathalyzer test, and was found to have a BAC of 0.00. An ABCA design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of prompts and incentives, in the form of advertising and providing free gas and pizza, as a package intervention on the dependent variable. Results showed that the intervention was successful at increasing the ratio of safe to unsafe passengers in a bar.
Using Pedal Resistance to Increase Seatbelt Use
RON VAN HOUTEN (Western Michigan University), Bryan W Hilton (Western Michigan University), Richard Schulman (The Deaccelerator Corporation)
Abstract: This study evaluated a device that applied a yieldable but sustained increase in accelerator pedal back force whenever unbuckled drivers exceeded a preset speed criterion without buckling their seatbelt. This force was removed once the seatbelt was fastened. The increased force was sufficient to set up an establishing operation to reinforce seatbelt buckling behavior. Participants were 6 commercial drivers that operated carpet-cleaning vans. During baseline no contingency was in place for unbuckled trips. The yieldable pedal resistance was introduced on a multiple baseline across drivers design. Once the first set of drivers had responded to the contingency, it was introduced for the second set of drivers. During the first day of treatment the device was explained and demonstrated in vivo for all drivers of the vehicle. Driver’s indicated they were impressed with the device and would not drive very long unbelted with the force in place. The introduction of the treatment was associated with an immediate sustained increase in seatbelt use to 100%. Occasionally drivers would initially forget to buckle during a trip and encounter the force. In all instances they would buckle within less than 25 s of the force being applied. Drivers who buckled upon reaching the target speed were recorded as buckled in all phases of the study. One advantage of this device is that drivers do not need to buckle while operating the vehicle in reverse, moving to a loading dock or moving a vehicle.
Assessing the Effect of Standard and Rapid Flashing Stutter Beacons on Motorists' Speeding Behavior
MICHELLE J. VANWAGNER (Western Michigan University), Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The current study was designed to assess the effect of three different types of flashing beacons to reduce speeds as vehicles approached a sharp curve on a four-lane divided highway in the Village of Mundelein in Northern Illinois. An experimental device referred to as a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) was compared against baseline conditions and two different standard beacon configurations (single and double standard 12 inch round amber beacons. The research design was comprised of a combination alternating-treatments and reversal designs. All data were collected on Saturdays and Sundays during August of 2009. Weekends were selected as observation days for two major reasons. First, during an earlier pilot studies, data indicated that speeds were highest on the weekends. Second, pilot data also indicated that traffic patterns during weekdays may have presented a potential confounding variable making comparisons more difficult. Average speed across all baseline observations was 44.7 miles per hour (n = 4800; minimum = 20 MPH; maximum = 67 MPH; standard deviation = 5.1 MPH). Average speed across all single standard beacon observations was 44.0 MPH (n=1600; minimum = 25 MPH; maximum = 64 MPH; standard deviation = 5.5 MPH). Average speed across all double standard beacon observations was 43.6 miles per hour (n=1600; minimum = 26 MPH; maximum = 65 MPH; standard deviation = 5.6 MPH).
Reducing Following Too Closely in a Driving Simulator by Prompts, Goal Setting, and Feedback
MICHELLE LYNN ARNOLD (Western Michigan University), Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Cell phone use while driving is a major safety concern for drivers on the roadway. This study evaluated the effects of increasing following distance with prompting, goal setting, and feedback and whether any changes produced in following distance were associated with reductions in hard braking when drivers were using or 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, 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 a cell phone. A return to baseline was associated with a decrease in following distance and an increase in hard braking. Teaching individuals to increase following distance may be one strategy that drivers use to offset losses of perceived safety and decrease the risk of accidents when using a cell phone



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