It’s no secret that distracted driving is a serious problem in today’s society. In fact, 16% of all fatal car crashes are caused by distraction. Well, a new Australian study aims to shed some light on distracted driving habits.
The study was based on a questionnaire that asked participants about under which circumstances they believed using a phone while driving was okay. The questionnaire was filled out by 447 drivers. The respondents were asked about six different scenarios, based on real traffic and road conditions. After reading the scenario, the respondents were asked to rate the likely crash risk, along with their comfort level driving in the scenario and how likely they were to use their phone to call or text during that time.
The study clearly found that people still require convincing about how dangerous using a mobile phone behind the wheel is. In fact, 68% of respondents agreed that they need more proof about how dangerous texting and driving is.
Findings from the study show that people are more likely to talk on the phone than text while behind the wheel. Also, women were found to be more likely to use phones while driving than men. Additionally, less experienced drivers were found more likely to use phones behind the wheel. This is especially concerning, seeing as how the National Commission on Vision and Health states that one in four people between the ages of five and 17 experience a vision problem, which can further impact their ability to drive.
People who responded by saying they believe using cell phones has a minor effect on the ability to drive were more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors. But respondents did say that demanding traffic conditions and the presence of law enforcement would deter them from using phones behind the wheel. So while many drivers may not believe in the dangers of distracted driving, there do seem to be effective deterrents.
Overall, the four profiles of drivers who are most likely to engage in distracted driving according to the study are females, people who are frequent users of cell phones, people who are highly disinhibited, and people who have generally negative attitudes about safety.
The study certainly sheds light on current distracted driving behaviors. However, it is clear that despite all of the evidence supporting the dangers of distracted driving, people still need more convincing and stricter enforcement of laws regarding cell phone use while driving.