No one would deny that distracted driving, and specifically the use of cell phones while driving, is the single biggest transportation safety challenge currently facing the federal administration. However, efforts to reduce the risk of distracted driving accidents, and educate motorists about avoiding such behaviors at the wheel, may not be as effective, as hoped. That’s because people can’t seem to stop from reaching out for their cell phone, while they are at the wheel.
It’s not as if the American public does not understand the risks of texting while driving or using cell phones while driving. In fact, studies have indicated that as many as 95% of all Americans are aware of the dangers of texting while driving. In spite of that fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one third of adults had used a cell phone to send e-mails or texts at least once over the previous 30 days.
This proves that Americans are very aware of the dangers of such behaviors, but they quite literally cannot seem to help themselves. The use of technology, and specifically cell phones, has become a habit for the American population. Several researchers across the globe have begun to study why is it that people cannot stop themselves from reaching out for their cell phone even while they are driving.
The problem is that cell phones have simply pervaded our conscious, and have now simply become a habit that we cannot seem to break. You don’t think twice about taking out your cell phone when you’re standing in a queue, or when you are waiting for someone at the restaurant. In the same manner, the brain simply does not find it at all odd to reach for the cell phone when it rings as you are at the wheel.
The research is ongoing, and hopefully, over the next few months, we will be able to get more clues about why cell phone-related behaviors are proving hard to control, and what can be done to help avoid these impulses.