Surveys can provide researchers with information about people’s behavior, up to a certain point. Asking people questions or having them fill out anonymous surveys requires that researchers trust their self-reported experiences. Many people will under-report engaging in behaviors they know to be inappropriate or illegal, even if questions are anonymous.
Still, while the data may not be as accurate as people might like, survey analysis can give policymakers and researchers a better understanding of common practices. The better we understand how humans behave and why, the easier it is to make policy and law that protects the public.
When it comes to texting while driving, an analysis of survey data makes it clear that people are increasingly aware of the dangers involved with texting and driving. Still, despite knowing that, a substantial portion of people still self-report texting or other forms of digital distraction while driving, despite the risk for serious crashes it may create for them, their passengers and others on the road.
Quite a few people text while driving despite knowing the dangers
An analysis of a survey of 2,000 people conducted in January of 2020 found that among the people responding, 37.1% acknowledged that digital distractions limit someone’s ability to drive safely. This number shows that public awareness of distracted driving is on the rise, but awareness may not prompt people to make safer choices.
Shockingly, 28.6% of the people who responded still admitted to texting while driving. That is not the only kind of distracted driving people were happy to confess to in this recent survey. A staggering 56.7% of people admitted to eating and drinking while driving.
Other people seem to believe that other forms of digital distraction, such as interacting with a GPS system or a screen in their vehicle, were somehow less dangerous, even though it also takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road.
The kind of device someone uses impacts distraction rates
While the 2020 survey did not look at specific mobile device operating systems, a similar survey in 2019 did look at the difference between Android and Apple users. There is a surprising discrepancy between users of the two operating systems.
Apple device users admitted that they felt substantially more pressure to respond immediately to text messages. 58.6% of Apple users feel that pressure, compared with only 17.7% of people using Android supported devices. Even more alarming is that a shocking 70.4% of Apple users copped to video chatting at the wheel, compared with 23.7% of Android users who engaged in the same behavior.
Regardless of what kind of phone or operating system the person has, texting while driving is still incredibly dangerous and can lead to injuries or even fatal crashes and legal liability for the consequences of that crash.