A&M Study Suggests It's Not Me, It's You with Distracted Driving

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas Mobile devices have become as much a part of our lives as our wallets or purses, but according to a new study, many people think the dangers of using them while driving simply don't apply to them.

Katie Womack, a senior research scientist with the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute, recently authored a study about distracted driving.

"It's really fun and interesting to dive into what people think," said Womack.

According to the study, most people think it won't happen to them.

Three fourths of people surveyed said they've talked on a cell phone while driving in the past month. Ninety six percent of those same drivers think other drivers do the same thing.

Forty four percent admitted to texting while driving, but think 89 percent of other drivers do the same.

Emily Bowen works at Texas A&M, and said she's guilty of talking on the phone while driving.

"Occasionally, but I try not to," said Bowen.

Bowen said she knows it's a bad habit that she needs to quit.

"I guess if you're going to talk on the phone, try to get on speaker phone," said Bowen.

Allison booth, a student at Texas A&M, agrees, but said she's guilty of it herself.

"Sometimes I'm really tempted to, especially if I see my mom has texted me," said Booth. "But it's something I've gotten better about."

News 3 talked with several other people about distracted driving. While most admitted to texting or talking, all of them said it wasn't a safe thing to do.

Womack said that's consistent with the study.

"Our data shows that people tend to underestimate their own risk," said Womack. "They might see it as a risk that is applicable to others."

Womack said her study also revealed higher education doesn't mean safer driving habits.

"The behavior of talking, texting, being on a mobile communication device, was associated with higher education. So the more educated people were more inclined to do these types of behaviors," said Womack.

Roughly a third of those people surveyed say they drive well enough to handle distractions.

For more on the study, click on the link added to this story.

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