Texting Makes Driving Safer*

By Frank Kenna

*Not really. 

But some young drivers apparently thought so according to a recent study conducted at the University of Kansas about texting while driving.  The study, published by U.S. National Library of Medicine said, “making the choice to engage in texting led drivers to perceive road conditions as being safer than if they replied to a text or read a text, suggesting that choosing to engage in the behavior itself changes attitudes toward risk.”

The study also reported that 70% of young drivers initiate texts while driving, 81% respond to texts, and 92% read them.  Only 2% reported never texting while driving under any circumstances. 

What does this all mean?  For those involved with teaching safe driving methods, this is an obvious, glaring issue that needs to be addressed.  And plain old safety slogans won’t work, due to the dynamic pointed out in the first paragraph.  Perhaps using the same education techniques employed for drinking and driving awareness could work.  And when thinking about workplace safety for businesses that have lots of vehicular traffic in and around their facility, awareness for employees and pedestrians needs to be heightened. 

I have a feeling that we’re going to be hearing a lot more about this issue in the years to come in a very negative way.

Sharon Toelle
December 8, 2010

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