Public safety officials can probably cancel the PR campaign against texting and driving and concentrate instead on making drivers pay a stiff price for doing it, if a survey out today is any indication.
Ninety-eight percent of those surveyed said they know about the dangers of texting and driving, but 75 percent — an astounding figure — say they do it anyway.
A quarter of those surveyed said they can do both without a problem, which — if we’re reading this correctly — means almost half of those surveyed text and drive even though they know they can’t do both.
Why? Here’s why:
– Twenty-eight percent said they are worried about missing out of something important if they don’t check their phones right away.
— More than a quarter believes that their driving performance is not affected by texting, and just as many people said they believe that others expect them to respond to texts “right away.”
— Just 6 percent answered that they are “addicted to texting,” although 14 percent admitted that they are “anxious” if they don’t respond to a text right away, and 17 percent feel “a sense of satisfaction” when they can read or respond to a text message.
The lack of logic in the survey results speaks to the assertion that texting is an addiction.
David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and a professor at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine, tells the Associated Press that the effect of texting on the brain is much the same as gambling and drugs, with Dopamine levels increasing as people anticipate messages, leading to more feelings of pleasure.
Inattention was the contributing factor in 17,598 crashes (23 percent of all crashes), 68 fatalities and 8,038 injuries in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Related: 'A Deadly Wandering' tells driver's story after fatal texting incident (Daily Circuit).