Study: Most Drivers Addicted To Texting While Driving

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T.

Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample size of 1,004 between the ages of 16 and 65 — simply couldn’t put the phone down to change lanes safely, look out for that semi-trailer et al.

The reason: Dopamine. According to Greenfield, those who check their cell phones every time an update blinks into existence — Facebook, Instagram, texting, etc. — receive a lift in mood thanks to the neurochemical. This could then lead into a feedback loop that could get in the way of driving to the detriment of all on the road.

Further, 90 percent of those surveyed knew it was wrong to do so, but kept texting away through the power of rationalization, with 30 percent placing said power in the belief that they can multitask like their laptops and tablets at home.

As this is a study commissioned by AT&T, the telecom giant is in the midst of a campaign promoting safe driving by putting away the phone (of which the study plays a part). The campaign, It Can Wait, includes an app available to Android and iOS users — sorry BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users — named DriveMode, which can silence text alerts once it senses speeds greater than 15 mph, shutting down once the driver comes to a stop. Over 1.8 million users have downloaded the app thus far.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Fiasco Fiasco on Nov 11, 2014

    I wouldn't call most of my time behind the wheel "Driving", Bob.

  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Nov 12, 2014

    You know, I actually tried distracted driving a few times just to see how it is, just yakking on the cell while doing 40, that scared me more than RWD winter driving, at least the latter gives me more control. I can't blame age, I see Gen X'ers text pretty often, mostly fat women in CUVs. But honestly, textings a smaller concern for me, I keep seeing cars with aftermarket mini DVD players in them now, and people watching films are always driving poorly. It all comes down to the biggest problem with modern social behavior, almost no one has any self-awareness nor disciplined, they just act. One of these days I'm going to become and engineer, and make a little box with a button that shuts down all phones within a 100 foot radius. I guarantee that'll make the roads a bit safer.

  • Bugmen0t Bugmen0t on Nov 12, 2014

    AT&T is full of it, with their alleged concern about texting and driving. They commission studies, they hold events, they give out stickers and buttons. But, what they can and won't do, is turn off texting on their phones when people are in moving cars. The technology exists to do this. AT&T won't implement the technology, because they want the profits generated by folks texting in cars. The excuse is that the passenger may want to text, and they must not prevent that. Sadly, their mobile competitors are no better in the morality department.

    • See 2 previous
    • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Nov 12, 2014

      As much as I'd love for phone companies to implement that technology, it could get annoying for some and give them bad reputations. The way that I see it, they should incorporate a "driving mode" while selling hands free things that deactivate it, profit for them and no texting\driving for us. Its a win-win situation.

  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 12, 2014

    " One of these days I’m going to become and engineer, and make a little box with a button that shuts down all phones within a 100 foot radius. I guarantee that’ll make the roads a bit safer." This device already exists , apparently it's not legal in the U.S. . I tried to buy a similar device that shuts off televisions , couldn't get it here . -Nate

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    • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Nov 12, 2014

      @Lie2me If I ever made a device like that let me just say that I'd never, ever sell it, be it a TV or phone "deactivater", if anything I'd probably take it all apart and scrap it. Plus that'd be pretty evil to keep people from watching M*A*S*H reruns. The best TV device ever made would be the remote, and some places will let you lower the volume if you ask.