FILED IN: Safety

Attitudes towards texting while driving traffic study

Texting while driving can cause fatalities, but the habit may be hard to break

Texting while driving can have dire consequences but people are reluctant to recognize the significance of the dangerous habit. Photo via Flickr Commons.

In a recent study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported, “Busy-fingered teenagers can be blamed for many texting and driving accidents, but this is an adult problem too.”

The study found 35 percent of adult drivers admitted to reading or sending text messages in the last month. Ten percent say they text or email while driving on highways or in heavy traffic.

Arrive Alive Tour, based in Michigan, but travels across the country to warn against texting on the road, made a group of students watch a movie about what can happen when a driver is fixated on a phone instead of the road. They wanted to make the public aware of the potential fatal consequences of texting and driving.

In the film, a man accused of vehicular homicide in real life sobbed about his regret. In a fictional scene, a group of teenage girls screamed, covered in blood, because the girl driving was texting a boy. An infant in another car was dead in the ensuing pileup.

When the students left the film, they were visibly shaken, but many of the students were un-phased and commented they would probably continue to text while driving.

As a part of the tour, the ‘Arrive Alive Simulator Car’ was used as a demonstration. Students were given virtual reality glasses and a phone to text with inside of a simulator car in order to demonstrate the dangers of distracted driving. When one of the students began the simulator:

“One hand directed the wheel. Another fiddled to pop open a flip phone in her lap.

“What is your favorite musician?” the text read.

Her head went up, then down, then up again, then down again. Her foot pressed harder on the gas.

Ten miles per hour, then 20, then 30.

She pecked on the phone, “T a y l o r S w i f.” Before she could finish spelling Taylor Swift the red light blinked before she knew it, the tires squeled and she didn’t see the woman she hit and killed either.”

Texters can get six months in prison for injuring someone, 15 years if someone is killed, according to the big block letters on the screen during the film.

According to the Tenn. Governor’s Highway safety Association, in Tenn. drivers with learners permits and intermediate licenses are forbidden to use their cellphones while driving. In Ga. drivers can’t be seen using their phones, according to state law. Thirty-four states ban text messaging for all drivers. Thirty states ban all cellphone use for novice drivers.