How ABA Increased Designated Drivers in a College Bar

By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Founding Editor,

Richard Kazbour and Jon Bailey published a study in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis which increased the prevalence of designated drivers in a college bar.

The researchers used what is known as an “ABCA” design, wherein the following conditions were alternated in the latter sequence across nights in the same bar:

A – Baseline

B – Bar Prompt + Pizza

C – Pizza + Gas Advertisement

In the Baseline condition, the normal bar policy was in place which made self-described designated drivers eligible for free soft drinks.  To ensure bar patrons were aware of the policy, the researchers placed conspicuous sings describing the incentive in various places throughout the establishment.

In the Bar Prompt + Pizza condition, the same signs that previously advertised the soft drink policy now advertised a new policy with the added incentive of free pizza to a group of five or more people with a designated driver.

In the Pizza + Gas Advertisement condition, researchers placed 75 posters in the windows of businesses and apartment complexes near the bar.  The posters specified the receipt of free pizza to a group with a designated driver, in addition to a $5 gas card to the designated driver.

Results indicated that, during the first and last baseline conditions, the percentage of patrons with designated drivers was at or near zero.  However, the Pizza + Gas Advertisement brought the average up to 12%, while the Bar Prompt + Pizza condition lead a mere 2% of patrons to have a designated driver.

Be sure to read the full study for more procedural details, including limitations and future research, and let us know what you think in the comments below.  Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns and  Todd serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues.  He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at [email protected].

2 Comments on "How ABA Increased Designated Drivers in a College Bar"

  1. Richard Kazbour | September 18, 2015 at 9:56 am | Reply

    Someone just shared this with me. Thanks for the memories! I learned a lot from the study.

    Richard Kazbour, PhD, BCBA-D

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.