Men more likely to disregard risks of distracted driving, study shows

A recent study on impulsiveness and distracted driving has offered an unexpected glimpse into gender differences with regard to the perceived risks of texting while driving. The findings surprised even the researchers themselves, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The study, conducted by two professors at Kings College in Wilkes Barr, Pennsylvania, was intended to examine whether impulsive individuals are more likely to text while driving. The authors of the study surveyed 120 college students about their attitudes toward texting while driving as well as about their own texting habits.

The results of the study, published by the International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management, show that male drivers are more likely than female drivers to downplay the increased risk of car accidents caused by texting while driving. The research revealed that male drivers often believe that their own driving skills are superior to those of others on the road, and therefore may be less likely to appreciate the risks of texting behind the wheel.

Women text more, but not while driving

On average, the participants in the study sent about 82 text messages per day. Although females typically texted more than males, and appeared to be more impulsive in general with regard to texting, researchers found that this impulsiveness did not appear to correlate with a higher likelihood of texting while driving. Researchers say their findings suggest that female drivers may be more attuned to the risks of distracted driving, thus preventing them from texting while driving even if they are otherwise likely to behave impulsively.

Male respondents, on the other hand, sent fewer text messages overall than their female counterparts and were generally less likely to text impulsively. However, male drivers also showed a lower appreciation of the risks of texting while driving. Although most male participants in the study agreed that texting while driving is risky, they were more likely than female participants to downplay the risks because of their confidence in their own driving abilities.

These mismatched attitudes notwithstanding, however, the researchers say they observed no difference between the sexes with regard to the overall likelihood of texting while driving.

Texting threat persists, despite ban

Distracted driving is against the law in California, and drivers of all ages are prohibited from talking or texting on handheld phones while operating a motor vehicle. In addition, unlike many other states, California's distracted driving ban is a primary enforcement law, meaning that police can stop drivers for illegal cellphone use even if they have not violated any other law.

Despite these laws and others like them, texting while driving remains a huge threat to public safety in California and around the nation. In California, distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents involving serious injury or death, with cellphone use ranked as the number one cause of distraction in these crashes.

Financial help may be available after a crash

When people are hurt or killed by reckless or inattentive drivers in California, the law provides them with the opportunity to seek financial compensation to help offset their lost income, medical bills and other expenses. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn more about the options that are available if you or a family member has been hurt in a car accident.