Why people still text while driving, despite well-known risks

A new study has revealed what factors motivate people to text while driving, despite the increased risk of accidents, stricter laws against it, and many awareness-raising efforts.

Steven Seiler fromTennessee Tech University (Cookeville), who examines the social factors that lead people to text while driving, suggested that people tend to engage in "mobile multiplexing," that is texting, talking and using the Internet, while driving, which presents a variety of distractions.

Seiler added that texting while driving is a learned behavior, reinforced by seeing others do it, and although laws prohibit it and it impairs driver safety, it has become a cultural artifact in the U.S.People who disregard cultural norms in general are more likely to text while driving.

Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold said that leading the industry in 2000, Verizon Wireless was the first wireless carrier to support state legislation that prohibited mobile phone use while driving and other carriers have now followed suit, hoping their public awareness campaigns will help promote positive behavioral change.

The study is published in journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. 

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