The perils of texting while driving

Oct 11, 2013

US research reveals that 4 out of 5 college student drivers have used their cell phones to send or receive text messages while driving despite the majority recognizing that the activity represents a risk. Garold Lantz and Sandra Loeb of the McGowan School of Business, at King's College, in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, found that male drivers are more likely to engage in texting while driving but consider themselves more proficient drivers than others and so less likely to endanger themselves or others while doing so.

Analysis indicates ' impulsiveness' is positively associated with people who text frequently and those who text while driving, the team reports in the International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management this month.

Earlier studies have suggested that texting while driving is on a par with driving while intoxicated with alcohol as a significant risk factor for highway accidents. Indeed, some research suggested that texting slows driver reaction times more than being drunk. Other studies reinforce the myth of multitasking and show that very few (2.5%) people can competently undertake two or more tasks at once. Moreover, our brains allow us to focus completely only on a single task at any given time, so those people demonstrated as multitaskers are simply better at switching seamlessly between two activities. Texting while driving is already banned in some countries, including the UK for this reason.

"There seems to be a mentality that use of electronic devices is dangerous for everyone but 'me'," the team says. While the US government has introduced a public awareness campaign based around the "distraction.gov" web site, the means to correct for such a risky practice as texting while driving is in dispute. The team's study provides useful empirical evidence regarding attitudes to this issue.

"If further research conclusively demonstrates that texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk this study suggests that a promotional campaign should be undertaken to assure that this point is clearly understood," the team suggests. Lantz points out that, "Our study, particularly our measurement of impulsiveness, is exploratory. We have been working to develop that measurement and it is still a work in progress," he says.

Explore further: Nearly half of distracted drivers are texting, study finds (w/ Video)

More information: "An exploratory study of psychological tendencies related to texting while driving" in Int. J. Sustainable Strategic Management, 2013, 4, 39-49.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Don't txt n drive: Teens not getting msg

May 04, 2013

Teens can get hundreds of text messages a day, but one message they aren't getting is that they shouldn't text and drive. Nearly 43 percent of high school students of driving age who were surveyed in 2011 reported texting ...

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

13 hours ago

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

14 hours ago

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 0