Researchers in Australia who wanted to study distracted driving enlisted 447 drivers to fill out a questionnaire about their habits behind the wheel.
Based on people’s responses, the study found that women drivers are more likely than men to use mobile phones on the road.
People who are more thrill-seeking than others are also more likely to use mobile phones while driving, the study found. Experienced drivers are less likely to engage in distracted driving than novices.
However, 68 percent of respondents said they need more proof about the dangers of texting and driving.
The questionnaire was designed to analyze personality traits and driving behavior. Six scenarios were put to the respondents, based on real traffic and road conditions in South East Queensland. The respondents were then asked to rate the likely crash risk in those scenarios, their comfort driving through such conditions, and the likelihood of using their mobile phones to call or text.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland and published in Risk Analysis: An International Journal.
The researchers urged additional research into the psychological and circumstantial factors that discourage most people from using mobile phones while driving. They also called for targeted law enforcement action against “high-risk groups,” such as new drivers.
People who text and drive are more than six times as likely to crash as those who don’t. The risk is more than two times as high for people talking on handheld devices, the study says. Observational studies have shown that nearly 19 percent of drivers in high-income countries such as Australia and the United States are on the phone while on the road.