What’s it going to take to convince people of the dangers of texting while driving? A new survey reveals that 68 percent of people don’t believe texting and driving is dangerous.
The Society for Risk Analysis reports that people who text and drive are six times more likely to be involved in a car accident. However, a study published in Risk Analysis: An International Journal found that despite evidence that texting while driving is dangerous, the “fear of missing out” and separation anxiety prevents people from following the law and abstaining from using their phones behind the wheel.
The press release states that cellphones have contributed to one-fourth of all car accidents, but the actual risk varies based on what action the person behind the wheel is performing, and what is physically and cognitively needed of the driver. Speaking on a cellphone increases the risk of an accident by 2.2 times and texting increases the risk by 6.1 times.
The study, which consisted of a questionnaire of 447 drivers in Australia, asked participants about their perceived crash risk, driving comfort, difficulty and ability, perceived likelihood of talking on a cellphone and likelihood of texting.
Overall, people were more likely to talk on phones than text. Women were more likely than men to engage in cellphone use while driving, as were less experienced drivers, the study found. As the number of years a person held a license increased, the likelihood of the person participating in distracted driving decreased.
Individuals who could self-regulate when to use cellphones behind the wheel developed “strategies to cope with environmental factors while maintaining a high level of performance,” the press release stated. They used their phones during stops and at intersections with signals and abstained while in heavy traffic or while driving on curved urban or rural roads.
Additionally, people who believe that cellphone use has a minor effect on the driver, people who need a lot of convincing that cellphone use while driving is dangerous and that the distracted effects will last after the task is finished are more likely to engage in distracted driving. However, participants reported that demanding traffic conditions and law enforcement presence were effective deterrents, which could support high-visibility police enforcement programs as a way to combat cellphone use while driving, according to the press release.