Many know it’s illegal, most know it’s dangerous, and yet some still do it anyway. The numbers are out and while it’s not shocking, it definitely should be a cause of concern for those of us on the road that 75% of drivers surveyed admit that they text while they drive.
As part of its It Can Wait campaign against texting while driving, AT&T conducted a survey and here is what they found: 98% of the individuals surveyed own cell phones, text regularly, and admit that they know the dangers of texting while driving – and here is the scary part- 75% of those people admit that they still do it anyway!
The reasons given for texting while driving are unimpressive and not surprising – 1) To stay connected with friends, family, and work; 2) Out of habit; 3) Fear of missing out on something important; 4) Because they don’t believe that they drive any differently while texting; or 5) The simple satisfaction that comes from reading or replying to a text. The Associated Press reports that two-thirds of the people that AT&T surveyed admit to reading text messages while stopped at a red light or stop sign, and more than a quarter admit to sending texts while their car is in motion.
AT&T released the survey Wednesday as part of its anti-texting and driving campaign and those surveyed were daily drivers between the ages of 16-65 who text at least once a day. The survey comes amidst the expanded availability of AT&T’s free app, DriveMode, that silences text message alerts and which activates automatically when a person is moving 15 miles per hour or faster. Passengers who have DriveMode can turn it off so that their messages will not be silenced when traveling as a passenger in a car moving at that rate of speed.
Currently the app is only available to AT&T customers who have Android or BlackBerry phones. Soon, however, the app will be made available to customers of competing carriers who have iPhones, but some of the app’s functions will work only on AT&T devices.
David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, designed the survey with AT&T. Greenfield, who studies the effects of digital technology on the brain, likes to call smartphones “the world’s smallest slot machines “because they affect the brain in similar ways that gambling or drugs can. Dopamine levels increase as you anticipate messages, and that leads to higher levels of pleasure.
According to Greenfield, while all distractions can be dangerous, much of the focus has been on texting while driving because “it’s ongoing and because there is an anticipatory aspect to it.” Greenfield says that people should not use their phones at all while driving, but he acknowledges that in this day and age, this may not be a realistic expectation. He hopes that the availability of the DriveMode app, public awareness, and anti- texting while driving laws will change people’s behavior similar to how anti-drunk driving laws and public education campaigns have reduced drunk driving over the last few decades.
If you’ve received a citation for talking or texting while driving call Rosenblum Law at 888-883-5529 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.