Study profiles those at highest risk for distracted driving

A study published by the Society for Risk Analysis has uncovered four profiles of drivers who are strongly inclined to call or text while behind the wheel. New Jersey residents may be interested in the results because they could point the way toward more effective distracted driving campaigns that target certain received notions about road safety.

The first profile group was women, who were found to be more likely than men to use their phones while driving. The other three groups are drivers who frequently call or text to begin with, drivers with negative attitudes about safety and drivers with few inhibitions. Researchers found that, on the whole, more experienced drivers were less likely to engage in distracting behavior.

Their situation-based analysis brought out some more insights. Drivers called more than they texted, it is assumed because of the visual demands that come with texting. Most drivers displayed a degree of self-regulation, using their phones only when stopped at a light, for instance.

While 68 percent of participants said they were unconvinced that texting is dangerous, they refrained from it whenever they drove in heavy traffic, around curved sections of roads and around law enforcement personnel. The fact is that talking on the phone doubles the risk for accidents; texting multiplies that risk by six times.

New Jersey law allows only the use of hands-free devices for drivers, so if texting and driving is the cause of an auto accident, injured victims will have valid grounds for a claim. They might want to have legal assistance when attempting to seek compensation for their medical bills and other losses.