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Title:Why Drivers Use Cell Phones and Support Legislation to Restrict This Practice
Authors:David M. Sanbonmatsu, David L. Strayer, Arwen A. Behrends, Nathan Medeiros-Ward, and Jason M. Watson
Publication Date:Apr 2017
Report #:MPC-17-323
Project #:MPC-407
TRID #:01634891
Keywords:behavior, cellular telephones, drivers, highway safety, legislation, regression analysis, surveys

Abstract

A study was conducted to investigate why people talk on a cell phone while driving and why they also support legislation to restrict this practice. Participants completed a survey about their driving attitudes, abilities, and behaviors, and performed the OSPAN task. They reported using cell phones for benefits such as connecting with friends and getting work done. They generally acknowledged the risks of using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle but downplayed them relative to drinking and driving. Regression analyses suggest that people talk on a cell phone, in part, because they believe they are personally capable of driving safely while doing so. However, there was little relation between participants' self-assessments of their ability to drive safely and their actual multitasking ability as measured by the OSPAN task. Participants saw others' usage of cell phones while driving as much riskier than their own. Support for laws to restrict cellular communication was strongly predicted by the perceived threat to public safety presented by others' cell phone usage. In addition, as the perceived benefits of cell phone use decreased, support for legislation increased.

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How to Cite

Sanbonmatsu, David M., David L. Strayer, Arwen A. Behrends, Nathan Medeiros-Ward, and Jason M. Watson. Why Drivers Use Cell Phones and Support Legislation to Restrict This Practice, MPC-17-323. North Dakota State University - Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Fargo: Mountain-Plains Consortium, 2017.

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