Messaging While Driving Essay

Messaging While Driving


Messaging or texting behaviors behind the wheel have become increasingly common amongst drivers in modern society. This has consequently contributed a great deal to texting related to accidents. Additionally, the number of subscribers using different mobile phones has increased in the past years, for instance in the US, there were almost 302.9 million wireless subscribers by December 2010, which is an increase from 100 million subscriptions within four years.

Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the gadgets are quite ambiguous in the country hence, corresponding messaging behaviors. Such habits are also known to be leading causes of distractions amongst drivers thus leading to car crash deaths. When distracted, the lives of people in the cars are endangered, lives are also destroyed and injuries are caused to the driver, passenger and other road users.

Distraction is a broad aspect including diversion of the attention of the driver from the significant role of driving to other things temporarily thus affecting his or her decision making, awareness as well as performance. Such issues have also raised a lot of concern on road user’s safety both in government, general public and other stakeholders.

For this reason, many states are implementing new laws designed to curb such risky habits amongst drivers and enhancing safety on the road.

Problem statement

Texting while driving is increasingly becoming an issue of concern amongst different stakeholders including the general public and the government. This is primarily based on the fact that such behaviors are known to cause distractions amongst drivers especially when it comes to their decision making and their attention on the road. The distractions indeed are highly associated with high number of road accidents meaning the issue is also threatening the safety of our roads.

Given such conditions, injuries and death rates as a result of road carnages have been increasing by the day. Therefore, this research will help to analyze issues linked to increased road accidents as a result of texting behind the wheel.

Purpose Statement

This research aims at investigating messaging issue while driving to offer solid and essential details to the people in regards to the dangers involved. Creating awareness will be the most ideal way of finding a solution to the menace since with proper awareness; the people will be able to make informed decisions when driving.

This research will additionally help to offer a clear response to the research question on texting while driving related risks. The paper will additionally demonstrate how messaging while driving increases accident risks by stating facts based on existing information showing how such behaviors on the road have been fatal and quite destructive. The information will offer substantial details that will benefit road users and transport industry stakeholders for them to generate new measures and strategies for curbing the menace.

Central Research Question

This paper will be based on research question

Does texting behind the wheel endanger the lives of road users via road accidents?

This question will act as a guide to the researcher on the major features that this research will focus. The research question in other words helps to define the scope of the research by analyzing reasons behind such behaviors. Different approaches will be utilized in generating an answer to the question including a comprehensive literature review demonstrating the present state of research issue.

Additionally, the researcher will employ a qualitative approach in generating useful data to be used in answering the question and offering proper understanding on to what level or extent such behaviors are considered detrimental to safety of road users. This research question will further guide the study in determining the relationship between texting behind the wheel and road accidents.

Research Hypotheses

This study will be based on the following hypotheses

  1. All kinds of distractions amongst drivers pose a lot of risk to all road users including pedestrians, passengers, the driver and bystanders. The hypotheses are also based on the fact that the behavior distracts the attention of the driver both in the brain and hand such that the person will not be able to act swiftly in the event of emergency or dangerous situations.
  2. The use of gadgets that do not permit texting behind the wheel amongst drivers can help reduce road carnage risks. Such gadgets can take a design that doesn’t permit the use of mobile phones for instance texting or calling when the car is in motion.
  3. Effective and ideal channels should be employed in communicating messaging while driving related risks. For example, the media can use campaigns aimed at warning drivers among other related parties on the dangers of such habits using video clips and banners among such tools.

Clarification of Terminologies

Distracted driving

This means the diversification of a driver’s attention from driving since he or she is concentrating temporarily on another thing for example an event, object, a person or other tasks that are not related to driving. This consequently reduces the decision making ability of the driver, performance and awareness on the road thus increasing chances of road accidents.

Assumptions that may Bias the Research

This research will be based on the notion that many drivers are more likely to text than any other kind of distraction behind the wheel. The notion will be useful in emphasizing the most common type of distraction on the road and in this case, messaging.  Additionally there are other distractors that drivers are prone including hand free calls but in this case, it is presumed that drivers often text while driving.

The notion is additionally based on the fact that the paper will focus on determining the extent to which messaging interrupts the attention of a driver and its subsequent effects. The assumption will additionally be instrumental since the impact of messaging behind the wheel cannot be solely based on the growing number of road accidents.

Additionally, many are accidents are caused by other things including lack of proper experience, drinking, carelessness and lack of driving skills. The assumption is therefore very crucial when ensuring the researcher needs ideal research findings.

Literature Review

The increasing concerns on interruptions on drivers have occurred as a result of increasing road accidents caused by such things. There are various factors that have been closely associated with driver’s interruptions while on the road even though not quite prevalent compared to messaging. Such distractions have been noted to cause many accidents since they lead to lack of concentration or focus by the drivers.

Messaging while behind the wheel is additionally known to be unsafe habit since it is a considerable source of interruption for many drivers (Robertson et al, 2013). It is therefore essential in this case to determine the reason as to why drivers are interrupted by such texting habits. Generally, humans are serial processors of information. This means that such people cannot multitask. This assumption as a result rules out the idea of multitasking since people quickly change their attention from one part to the other across other roles on the belief that they can multitask.

However in real sense, this is not the case and any efforts to multitask often leads to minimal attention to other tasks. Robertson et al (2013) therefore noted that processing of information is quite significant in driving since it is an act that involves ‘divided attention’, a task that also includes a lot of interruptions with the manual, cognitive and visual components.

The attention moreover that the driver must accord to driving is often based on driving experience, the complexity of driving as well as driving experience.

Robertson et al (2013) stated that:

inexperienced drivers must consciously focus more on remaining within their

Lane, whereas for experienced drivers this is very reflexive. An inexperienced driver, particularly one who is driving a technologically complex car, has to focus far more on controls and systems than someone who is familiar with the vehicle. (p.2)

Texting while driving, therefore, is a great distraction that can lead to fatal consequences.

For instance in 2010, interruption of drivers was found to be the leading cause of up to 18percent of fatal cases Proofreading-Editingkilling approximately 3092 people and causing up to 416000 injuries. When using mobile phones to text behind the wheel is additionally quite dangerous since they cause cognitive, visual and manual interruptions. Messaging causes diverted attention on the side of the driver from the driving itself as well as hands from the wheel.

Such interruptions are particularly common amongst young drivers or people (Farris, 2011). In real sense, many teenagers also die on the road because of texting related behaviors since they are drunk while driving. Research also reveals that up to 40 percent of American teens say that they have travelled in vehicles where the driver uses a mobile device in an inappropriate manner thus exposing them to a lot of danger.

An average teenager texting in the US sends and receives more than 3000 texts on monthly basis. Adult drivers also face distractions and dangers from such habits when on the wheel. Even so, the interruption may not be quite dominant as it is the case amongst young drivers (Farris, 2011). Teenagers in addition have a habit of engaging in activities on their devices that expose them to a lot of risks compared to adult drivers.

Trends noted amongst teenagers as a result show clearly that they are exposed to a lot of danger compared to adults. With growing numbers of teenagers using mobile phones, this also raises alarm on their safety on the road as well as that of other road users.

It is therefore essential to note that texting behind the wheel causes 23percent more times worse compared to uninterrupted form of driving. Similarly, about 11 percent of drivers are teenagers between the ages of 18 and 20 years and the get involved in road accidents but lucky to survive in the event of sending or receiving messages during the accident.

The driver’s diverted attention from the road when using mobile phones often takes about 5 seconds. For example, if the driver is travelling at 55 miles per hour, they would cover the same distance without interruption for 5 seconds, perhaps, the distance of a football field (Codey, 2013). This consequently means that the interruption time is often compromised.

Past research studies further reveal that messaging while driving subjects a driver to more cases of swerving the car in the wrong direction, into other lanes and other cases, the driver can move close to other cars compared to drivers who are driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol. The driver, passengers, motorists and other road users therefore are exposed to a lot of danger by a driver who is distracted (Codey, 2013).

Therefore, distracted kind of driving has been an issue of great concern despite having licensed drivers who understand and admit that it is extremely risky to use mobile gadgets behind the wheel since they pose a lot of danger to the safety of a person. The risk is additionally becoming worse as time goes by following the ever growing technological advancements that allow people to utilize their smart phones and other devices to text, make social media updates and to chat.

What’s more, a large number of licensed and authorized drivers have admitted engaging in risky acts such as texting. According to Codey (2013), despite the global disapproval of mailing or messaging when behind the wheel, many drivers are still known to have read, sent or typed a message or an email while driving.


This study will utilize qualitative method in carrying out the research as its most ideal case study methodology. The approach will be efficient in offering more understanding to the issue in question within the area of study (texting while driving), thus, playing a crucial role in enhancing the already existing literature or study.

The case study is additionally a qualitative research approach that helps researchers to evaluate modern real life situations while offering an ideal platform for ideas application. In this case, application of the case study methodology will focus more on evaluating the situation of messaging while behind the wheel in a given region. The study in our case will also focus on assessing and evaluation the research issue, which in our case; the study is being carried out in New York, US. The geographical region selection will also be useful in determining the situation at hand thus getting the most ideal picture of the research issue.

Even so, the study will utilize secondary and primary data in seeking the ideal answer to the research question. The primary data will also be collected via interviews with chosen sample from New York drivers while secondary details will also be collected from books, articles and journals among other secondary sources. Such secondary sources will also be achieved online while others from the libraries.

Secondary sources have been partly used in generating literature review in the study proposal. The gathered information also demonstrates dangers of road users as a result of messaging behaviors that have become quite rampant. Primary data will also be gathered via in-depth interviews. The information plays a crucial role in enhancing secondary information. Therefore, the interviews will be the most significant data collection tools for primary information.

The data collection tool will also be efficient in getting the real scenario on the ground since it will help the interviewer to focus deep into the subject of interest while exploring more into real research issue. The researcher will additionally use 100 participants as sample including drivers selected randomly between the ages of 15 to 50 years.

The process of data collection will also take up to a month and to enhance data collection comprehensively in make general the results across the entire population. Interviews will also employ an open ended approach for flexibility purposes. The design will also enable the researcher to develop more sub questions as a way of getting more elaborate details from research respondents. The interview question will further focus on use of mobile phones while driving.

Project Calendar

Period Activities
1Month Developing & presenting the research proposal for approval
2Month Visiting the field of study and gathering data
1Month Analyzing the data
1Week Presenting the report



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Codey, R. (2013). The Fata Dangers of Texting while Driving. Retrieved from

Farris, A. (2011). LOL? Texting while Driving is no Laughing Matter: Proposing a Coordinated Response to Curb this Dangerous Activity. Journal of Law & Policy, 36(233):233-259.

Robertson, R., Mayhew, D., Brown, S., & Valaar, W. (2013). Driver Distraction and Hands-Free Texting while Driving. Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 1(1):1-10.