Science News
from research organizations

College students whose friends text and drive more likely to do it too, study shows

Traffic safety campaigns need to address social influences on texting and driving

Date:
January 19, 2016
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
Texting while driving is a significant risk factor for automobile collisions, and cell phone use while driving is especially prevalent among young people. More than half (52 percent) of a sample of 861 college students in a recent survey reported that they had texted while driving at least once in the past month. The survey also found that texting drivers were more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors.
Share:
FULL STORY

Texting while driving is a significant risk factor for automobile collisions, and cell phone use while driving is especially prevalent among young people. More than half (52%) of a sample of 861 college students surveyed by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers reported that they had texted while driving at least once in the past month. The web-based survey, led by Professor Kenneth Beck in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, also examined how texting was associated with other forms of risky driving, perceptions of risk, and the driving and texting interactions of those surveyed with a significant other. The study is published in the journal Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.

"We found that texting drivers were more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors, to perceive that texting and driving is less risky than it is, and to feel more immune to traffic risks in general," said Dr. Beck. "Their friends were also more likely to text and drive." Even after accounting for a variety of risky driving behaviors (e.g., speeding, driving aggressively, etc.) and the perceived risks of getting a ticket or being involved in a collision, texting drivers were significantly more likely to text if they saw someone close to them text and drive.

"Our findings support the need for traffic safety campaigns to address important social influences on risky behavior," said Dr. Beck. "Previous campaigns have successfully utilized this approach in the area of drinking and driving prevention with the now familiar slogan 'Friends Don't Let Friends Drink and Drive.' Perhaps it is time we adapted this to 'Friends Don't Let Friends Text and Drive.'"


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kenneth H. Beck, Samantha Watters. Characteristics of college students who text while driving: Do their perceptions of a significant other influence their decisions? Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 2016; 37: 119 DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2015.12.017

Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "College students whose friends text and drive more likely to do it too, study shows: Traffic safety campaigns need to address social influences on texting and driving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160119142257.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2016, January 19). College students whose friends text and drive more likely to do it too, study shows: Traffic safety campaigns need to address social influences on texting and driving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160119142257.htm
University of Maryland. "College students whose friends text and drive more likely to do it too, study shows: Traffic safety campaigns need to address social influences on texting and driving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160119142257.htm (accessed August 31, 2016).