What factors motivate people to text while driving?
Nearly a third of adult drivers text while driving, despite the increased risk of accidents, stricter laws against it, and many awareness-raising efforts. What motivates this behavior and why it is so difficult to discourage is explored in the timely article "Hand on the Wheel, Mind on the Mobile: An Analysis of Social Factors Contributing to Texting while Driving," published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
Steven Seiler, Tennessee Tech University (Cookeville) examines the social factors that lead people to text while driving. He suggests that people tend to engage in "mobile multiplexing"—texting, talking, and using the Internet—while driving, which presents a variety of distractions. Texting while driving is a learned behavior, reinforced by seeing others do it, and although laws prohibit it and it impairs driver safety, "texting while driving has become a cultural artifact in the U.S." People who disregard cultural norms in general are more likely to text while driving.
"Leading the industry in 2000, Verizon Wireless was the first wireless carrier to support state legislation that prohibited mobile phone use while driving" says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium. "Other carriers have now followed suit, hoping their public awareness campaigns will help promote positive behavioral change."