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Majority of Drivers Admit to Texting while Driving

Update Date: Nov 07, 2014 11:25 AM EST

Despite knowing that texting while driving is extremely dangerous, a new study found that the majority of drivers still do it.

"There's a huge discrepancy between attitude and behavior," lead investigator of the study, David Greenfield, a professor at the University of Connecticut Medical School, stated according to TIME. "There's that schism between what we believe and then what we do."

For this study, Greenfield and his colleagues surveyed 1,004 drivers between May 20 and May 28, 2014. When asked if texting and driving at the same time was dangerous, 98 percent of them responded saying yes. However, when asked whether or not they participated in any texting-related activities while driving, 74 percent of them said yes.

The most common phone activity, at 66 percent, was reading a text message at a red light or stop sign. 49 percent of people stated that they sent a text when they had to stop at a red light or stop sign and the same percentage of people reported glancing at their phones at a red light. 43 percent read a message while driving, 34 percent glanced at their phones when they were driving and 27 percent sent a text while driving.

When asked why they had to look at their phones, the majority of them (43 percent) said that they wanted to stay connected with their family, friends and work. 30 percent stated that they used their phones out of habit, 28 percent stated that they were good at multitasking and 28 percent were afraid to miss out on something.

The researchers added that texting could be compared to a compulsion. When people receive a text, the alert could trigger the brain to release dopamine due to excitement. When people find out that the content of the text is appealing, their brains release even more dopamine, causing them to want to look at the messages in general. The researchers believe that in order to combat the compulsion, people have to first acknowledge the problem.

For more information on the survey, click here.

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