Discussion Guide

Drowsy Driving Focus Groups
Young Males
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I. Self-Introductions and Warm up (10 minutes)

  1. What is a focus group? What will be discussed this evening.

  2. How focus groups work. . .

  3. Microphones, recording, assurance of privacy

  4. Observers behind the one-way mirror

  5. Role of the moderator:

  6. Ground rules

  7. Self-introductions: tell us your name, what you do, the kind of hours you work, and briefly tell us where you went on a long driving trip during the past year.

II. Sleep habits (15 minutes)

  1. Tell me about you sleep habits. What is the usual amount of sleep that you get each night? How much sleep do you think you need?

  2. How important is being well-rested to you? How important is it you in relationship to other things in your life?

    (PROBE: In relation to having fun? Spending time with your family? Spending time with your friends? Getting school work done? Are there things you would be willing to give up sleep for? A party? A night out with your friends? Your health? Your safety? The safety of your family? The safety of your friends?)

  3. Do you ever push yourself to stay awake when you know you are tired and should rest? What do you do to stay awake? When?

    (PROBE: What are some of the reasons you do it? To keep up with your friends? Because you don't think you need sleep?)

  4. What or who could motivate you to get more sleep regularly?

    (PROBE: Is there anyone in a position to influence your sleep right now? Your friends? Your employers? Your school? Your spouse? Parent? Yourself?)

  5. What kinds of things could that person say or do to make you think about changing your sleep behavior?

    (PROBE: What could that person say or do to actually make you change your sleep behavior? Tell you your health is in danger? Your safety?)

  6. How do you or your peers view someone who is sleep deprived?

    (PROBE: Cool? Respected? Stupid? Extraordinary?)

III. Driving while Fatigued or Sleepy (65 minutes)


(Reminder to groupó don't include situations where alcohol was involved.)
  1. How big of a problem do you think fatigue or drowsy driving is on the road today? What do you think are the likely situations in which people have motor vehicle crashes due to fatigue or drowsy driving?

    (PROBE: What are the characteristics of these crashes? How can these type of crashes be avoided?)

  2. What do you think are your chances of being in a crash as result of drowsy driving?

    (PROBE: Is it greater or less than being involved in an alcohol-related crash? Greater or less than being involved in a crash as a result of aggressive driving, i.e., someone cut you off, ran a red light or stop sign, tailgating?)

  3. Has anyone (or know someone who has) been involved in an automobile crash or a "near miss" crash because you (they) fell asleep at the wheel? Describe the situation.

    (PROBE: Did this experience change your (their) behavior at all? If so, how/what do you (they) do differently? Do you think about this experience when you are getting behind the wheel sleepy or drowsy?)

  4. Do you think about times you have driven while feeling drowsy after the fact? Honestly, what do did think about those occasions in retrospect? How did those occasions change your behavior?

  5. How do you think being involved in an crash that resulted in permanent injury would affect your life?

    (PROBE: Yourself? Family/loved ones? Your social activities? Job/career? Goals for the future? Friends?)

  6. What would encourage or convince you not to drive when you are sleepy?

    (PROBE: The thought of being in a car crash and losing you life? Hurting someone else? Not doing well in school? Not being able to hang out with your friends? Not performing well in other areas of your life?)

V. Long Distance Travel


  1. When you know you're going to be driving on a long trip (over 4 hours) how do you prepare for that trip?

    (PROBE: Do you get extra sleep the night before? Plan breaks while driving? Share the driving responsibilities with a friend? Drink coffee?)

  2. When you are driving on a long trip, how many people are typically in the car with you? How do you share the driving responsibilities? What is the usual driving and rest schedule?

  3. How often would you say you drive any distance at night, say between 12 midnight and 6:00 a.m.? (around the table) What are the reasons you might be driving at night?

  4. What are the pros and cons of driving at night when you have not had enough rest/sleep?

  5. What would convince you to pull over and get some rest or avoid driving when you are drowsy or tired?

    (PROBE: The thought being in a car crash and losing your life? Putting someone else's safety or life in jeopardy? Not spending time with your family, friends, children? Losing your job? Not being able to finish school? Not performing well in your job or school? Not performing well in other areas of you life?)

VI. Countermeasures (20 minutes)

  1. What in your lives leads you to driving drowsy (i.e., what are the pros of driving drowsy or the forces in your life that promote it?) (List on board) What are the cons against drowsy driving? (List on board)

  2. What are some things you believe would be helpful to reduce your chances for falling asleep behind the wheel?

    (PROBE and describe if not mentioned:

    • another passenger in the car with you
    • pulling off the road and sleeping, or stopping at a motel to rest
    • pulling off the road at specially market exits (e.g., free coffee, soft drinks)
    • getting enough regular/prior sleep
    • drinking coffee
    • taking a nap
    • pulling off the road and stretching or exercising)

  3. What are your thoughts on these various countermeasures for drowsy driving?

    (PROBE: Do you think they will work? How do you think these suggestions could be implemented? What are the real reasons you don't do this now if you find yourself drowsy behind the wheel?)

  4. What would you think about using a device in your car that alerted you when you began to nod off? (example: buzzing noise when your head drops, monitor that watches your eyes and alerts you when they close for too long?)

    (PROBE: Would that be effective? What are some reasons you would or would not pay to have such a device in your car?)

  5. Would your response be the same or different if the device was outside the car (e.g., rumple strips or grooves in the shoulder of the highway to alert that you are going off the road?)

    (PROBE: How would this type of device be effective? Not effective?)

  6. How many warnings would it take to get you (realistically) to pull off the road and get some sleep?

  7. At this point of the discussion tonight, what do you think about drowsy driving?

    (PROBE: Is it a problem in your workplace? Is it a problem at school? Is it a problem for you? Is it a problem for your co-workers or college friends?)

VII. Media channels (10 minutes)

  1. Has anyone been exposed to information regarding drowsy or fatigue related driving?

    (PROBE: How did you hear it? On TV, radio, posters or brochures at work, at school, articles in newspaper or magazine? What did remember about what you see or heard?)

  2. How effective was this method (medium) to get information to you?

    (PROBE: What would of been more effective?)

  3. Where would you expect to see or hear safety message related to drowsy driving?

    (PROBE: How would this be an effective means to get information to you? How would it be not effective?)

  4. What would be the best way to get information to you regarding dangers of drowsy driving? When would be the best time to get information to you?

    (PROBE: mass media (TV), radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, brochures/poster at work or school, brochures, etc.)

  5. If you had just one motivational message to say to people about drowsy driving, what would that message be? How would that message be communicated?

VI. Thank you and close.

Pass out participant information sheet and pose any questions from the backroom if there is time.

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