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How safe is texting while driving?

Media release
25 July 2008

How safe is texting while driving?

A new study is asking drivers to share their experiences of mobile phone use while driving, in the hope of identifying how common and safe this behaviour is.

The research, conducted by University of Auckland Masters student Charlene Hallett, is one of the first studies worldwide to look specifically at texting while driving.

The study is looking to collect information on levels of texting while driving and drivers' attitudes to the topic. It will also look at the number of accidents linked to mobile phone use.

"With the rapidly increasing popularity of mobile phones, particularly with younger people - who are over-represented in car accident figures, there is a need to conduct research in the area," says Miss Hallett of the Department of Psychology. "While there is a lot of research on calling while driving, there is very little research on the dangers of texting, and there seems to be some uncertainty about whether this is safe.

"If you look at legislation in the US, different states have different laws banning either texting, calling or both. This research will hopefully provide information to correct some of these uncertainties. We hope that by analysing information from drivers across the country we can highlight the issues, educate drivers and help to inform future New Zealand legislation."

The anonymous online questionnaire is available at www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/drivingsurvey.


ENDS

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