Study finds women are more likely to engage in distracted driving than men

Published: July 10, 2018



The Society for Risk Analysis has recently a published a US-based study on the dynamics of distracted driving and why motorists continue to drive while texting.

Among the finding is information that shows motorists accept the risks of distracted driving because of the attachment people have with their mobile devices. Many drivers say they have separation anxiety from and a “fear of missing” out if they ignore their device when driving. Data shows people who text while driving are six time more likely to be involved in a collision. In Canada, distracted driving has replaced speeding and impaired driving as the leading cause of road-related deaths in most provinces.

Like Canada, the United States has toughened laws and punishments on drivers caught distracted driving, but numbers continue to increase. Perhaps the most interesting aspect in the results is data that shows women are more likely to use their mobile phone while driving than males. Such information is in contrast to impaired driving, which is more heavily weighted towards men.

Drivers who are experienced are also less likely to engage in distracted driving, with each year of license use decreasing the chance of engaging. The study is titled “Should I text or call here? A situation-based analysis of drivers’ perceived likelihood of engaging in mobile phone multitasking” and was commissioned by the Society for Risk Analysis.

In the study, 447 drivers in South East Queensland, Australia, answered questions about perceived crash risk, perceived driving comfort, perceived driving difficulty, perceived driving ability, perceived likelihood of engaging in a voice call and perceived likelihood of engaging in texting.

The research team included Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios, Md. Mazharul Haque and Mark King from Australia Queensland University of Technology, and Simon Washington from the University of Queensland.

The authors say the results from this study may contribute to more targeted distracted driving campaigns by highlighting opportunities for interventions. These campaigns should target safety attitudes to more effectively curb drivers’ motivations for engaging with their phones while driving. They say this study also confirmed the need to profile and target high-risk groups, particularly novice drivers and those who are overly attached to their phones, to develop messaging that considers their particular motivating factors.