Jan
12
The Root Causes of Texting and Driving

Guest Writer: Russell Johnson

TextNinja aims to give you the tools to stop texting and driving, and make the process easier and more accessible. But it’s hard to solve this problem without understanding the fundamental causes of texting and driving.  Beneath the alarming fatality and collision statistics, before the need for legislative measures, and behind all of the national campaigns for awareness against texting while driving is a psychological human element that, for most, is unavoidable.

The issue isn’t that drivers don’t know that texting while driving is a problem. Drivers do know this. In surveys conducted more than 90% of drivers agreed that texting while driving is unsafe. With this many drivers recognizing the clear dangers of texting while driving, you would think that the problem would be limited to a small minority of people who don’t recognize the dangers. Then, all we would need to do is educate these drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming recognition of the dangers, the CDC says 31% of US drivers ages 18-64 reported that they text while driving. For teens these numbers are closer to 50%. Drivers, especially younger drivers, are doing something that they know to be unsafe.

We live in a time where communication and access to information is nearly always readily available. Sending and receiving messages is free and instantaneous. Access to news, sports scores, games, any other information is immediately accessible. We take this ease of access and convenience for granted. Aside from when we have to silence our phones for plays, movies, and other performances, or putting the phone into airplane mode for flights, when don’t we have access to our phones?

Causes of Texting and Driving

The ease of access and abundance of use offered by our phones has created a dependence and in many cases an addiction. Access to our phones and frequent use is a habit. Habits and especially addictions are not easy to break. So where does this fit into distracted driving?

Driving is one of the few times in your life when you really shouldn’t use your phone. It’s one of the only times when it’s actually dangerous to use your phone. What better example is there of a bad habit or addiction than knowing something is lethal and illegal and doing it anyway?

For younger drivers, there has probably never been a time in which they have been driving and not had a cell phone with them. More experienced drivers have developed their phone use habits after learning to drive, but the less seasoned drivers developed their habits prior to driving. How then can we unlearn these habits? How can we break this addiction?

This is exactly what TextNinja aims to help its users do. We all know how difficult it is to force ourselves to quit something “cold turkey”. Sometimes we need a little help. Every time your phone buzzes or rings you feel a strong compulsion to check it. It’s a natural reaction and it is the first characteristic of a psychological habit.

Fight the causes of texting and driving

A habit loop is characterized by a cue or trigger (the notification sound), a routine behavior (reaching for your phone), and a reward (staying connected), which in this case is only rewarding if you aren’t injured in a crash that you caused.

TextNinja removes the cue (silences notifications), changes the behavior (prevents compulsions), and offers new rewards for new safe habits. The TextNinja primer or cue automatically sounds when a user enters the car to initiate a new habit loop. The cue is followed by a new routine behavior of driving distraction free and a new reward of scoring points, leveling up, and still staying connected with friends, only now in a safe, legal, and fun way.

By understanding the underlying issues, TextNinja address the real issue, helps break the dangerous habit, and makes the road safer for you and the drivers around you.

Find More:

Facts about texting and driving
Distracted driving statistics

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