Texting and driving: Perceptions and video game simulation among college students
Matthew D. Risher, Terry F. Pettijohn II
Background: Distracted driving due to texting accounts for thousands of preventable vehicle related deaths each year. Despite national campaigns to encourage drivers to wait to text when not driving, and laws making texting and driving illegal, the majority of college students still report texting while driving. Objective: The current study was designed to examine the effect that text messaging has on simulated driving performance, as well as the perceptions that university students have regarding texting and distracted driving. The use of text messaging while driving was predicted to greatly increase the number of simulated driving infractions. An overall negative view of texting and driving was expected, and participants in the texting condition were predicted to have a significantly stronger negative perception of texting and driving. Methods: Thirty-five college students participated in a video game driving simulation on the X-box 360 gaming console. One group was randomly assigned to text with the experimenter (experimental group) while the other group was not (control). Infractions were recorded. Participants also completed questionnaires about their perceptions of texting and driving. Results: Findings revealed that texting while driving negatively impacted simulated driving performance. Participants committed nearly 10 times as many traffic infractions while engaged in a texting conversation compared to participants who drove the simulation without the use of a hand held texting device. Conclusion: Our results indicate texting significantly impairs driving ability, and we recommend greater efforts should be made to regulate the use of cellular communication devices while driving a motor vehicle.