Study: Warnings Don't Prevent Texting While Driving

Young adults are more likely to text and talk on the phone while driving after watching videos showing the dangers of doing so, according to a recent study co-published by a professor at the University of South Florida in Sarasota-Manatee.

For the study, about 840 students from Florida universities were shown graphic public service announcements depicting the dangers of distracted driving and were asked them if they would be more or less likely to commit those offenses after viewing them.

The students were asked to indicate on a scale from one to seven how likely they were to text or talk and drive before and after watching the videos, according to Dr. Ron Lennon, assistant professor of Marketing in the College of Business at USF.

Before watching the videos, the average for texting and driving was 3.44 and for talking and driving was 4.31, the study found. After the videos, the average for texting went up to 3.54, up 3 percent, while the average for talking went up to 5.15, or up 11 percent.

Known as the "boomerang effect," the phenomenon is similar to people who smoke more often after seeing anti-smoking warnings, according to Lennon.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million people die in road crashes worldwide each year and another 20 to 50 million are injured annually.

Crash injuries are the leading cause of death for 15-29 year-olds.

Tampa Bay Online/Published: June 11, 2010


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