By now, we all know that distracted driving is dangerous. The warnings are everywhere — there are signs on roadways that read “Text Stop” and “Don’t Text and Drive” and we hear about the latest collisions from phone use on the news. (Who can forget about the PSAs?) However, learning about the risks hasn’t exactly stopped people from using their phones behind the wheel.

So, what is causing us to reach for our devices? In spite of the stricter distracted driving laws in many states, who is pressuring us to pick up our smartphones?

distracted driving dangersThe National Safety Council recently surveyed 2,409 licensed drivers to find out. The results may not be what you expect.

After analyzing the responses, the organization discovered that most drivers feel pressured by loved ones to drive distracted. In fact, 82% of drivers stated that they feel the most amount of pressure from their families. Furthermore, 54% of the drivers surveyed that they feel pressure from work to do so.

Other Important Statistics:

  • 74% of drivers would use Facebook behind the wheel.
  • 66% of drivers would talk on the phone while driving through a parking lot.
  • 73% of teen drivers said their friends pressure them to drive distracted the most.
  • 67% of drivers said that they feel at risk because of another driver’s distraction, but only 25% believe they are putting others at risk with their own use of technology.

What’s the Takeaway?

Perhaps, it’s not actually the temptation of social media apps pushing us to pick up the phone, but the urge to respond to friends and family that are waiting for a response. Considering that loved ones are the ones we likely message and communicate with the most, it’s logical that they’re the ones we don’t want to keep waiting.

However, the irony of this is that texting and driving is the exact opposite of what we want the people we care about to be doing. A text that your relative will “be home soon” is worth missing so they can arrive home at all.

This study shows that the change needs to happen elsewhere first. Stricter laws may catch more drivers, but first we need to alter behavior. Start by encouraging your friends and family that it’s okay to wait to call or text. There’s no rush. For those who are unsure of how safe of a driver they are, there are now mobile apps that can help determine your level of distraction. Remember, safe driving is more important than a text and the consequences are much less devastating. 

Photo credits: Wikimedia, LPTV