The inconvenient truth about mobile phone distraction: understanding the means, motive, and opportunity for driver resistance to legal and safety messages

Wells, Helen; Briggs, Gemma and Savigar-Shaw, Leanne (2021). The inconvenient truth about mobile phone distraction: understanding the means, motive, and opportunity for driver resistance to legal and safety messages. The British Journal of Criminology (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azab038

Abstract

The research evidence around distraction caused to drivers by mobile phone use is clear. Phone using drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a collision, are far less likely to notice and react to hazards, take much longer to react to any hazards they do notice and can look at hazards yet fail to see them. These findings relate equally to handsfree and handheld use. It is also clear that drivers are often resistant to these research findings and that self-reported mobile phone use by drivers is increasing. This paper combines a review of what is currently known about the dangers of mobile phone use by drivers with what research tells us about the ways drivers think about themselves, the law, and their risk of both crashing and being prosecuted. We blend these insights to explain why research evidence may be resisted both by drivers and policy makers, highlighting the inconvenient truth that is the distraction caused by mobile phone use.

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