Is Distracted Driving Really on the Decline?

Recent data suggests that text messaging in the U.S. has actually declined for the very first time. However, advocates against distracted driving should be slow to put out the balloons and streamers. The encouraging news is from a report by Chetan Sharma, which looks at the mobile data market and demonstrates a recent drop in SMS messaging. How this correlates to the action of texting while driving remains to be seen.

Sharma attributes this trend to the rise of IP messaging options like Apple’s “iMessenger” service and the fact that carriers refuse to “evolve their strategies.” iMessenger lets two Apple device users send free SMS-like messages to each other, cutting into carriers’ bottom lines.  In other words, texting may not have declined at all.  In fact, the study may lack the ability to measure the proper metrics concerning alternatives to traditional texting as described above.

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social network services are also getting in on the game, as younger users look for alternatives to traditional SMS communications. While the report acknowledges, that “it might be early to say ... the decline has begun or the market will sputter along before the decline takes place,” it’s pretty safe to say that carriers are feeling the pinch.

The question is “what does this mean for those who are rallying against distractions from mobile phone use while driving an automobile?” An obvious answer might be “nothing, ” but in truth it’s actually a negative sign. Lowering the barrier to communication practically means communicating more often.

This generally leads to more distractions. For advocates of preventing distracted driving, it means increased difficulty in curbing the behavioral issues that encourage distractions.

There is a dopamine reaction in the system that builds on this addiction to texting. It’s the general reward system that’s activated when we do something good. According to some physicians, the brains reaction to constant texting is similar to the activity of a heroin addict. In fact, the same area of the brain reacts in the same way.

So, while texting may be on the decline, there is still a long way to go before we can end distracted driving. Social media is causing the same, if not similar addiction in people. Merely instituting laws is insufficient to truly change people’s behavior. It’s this confluence of issues that may lead to a future of driverless (or mostly driverless vehicles). In the mean time, the Dolman Law Group is here to hold these distracted drivers in the Clearwater area accountable for their negligence.

It is time for texting and driving to have the same social stigma as drinking and driving.  Many recent studies suggest that distracted driving is every bit as dangerous as a driver whom is inebriated.

For more information on distracted driving, please call the Tampa injury law attorneys at the Dolman Law Group for a free case evaluation and consultation at: (727) 451-6900

REFERENCES

 Texting Addiction: Statistics and Solutions

 CBS News: When Texting Becomes an Addiction

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