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Psychologist Dr Victoria Bourne assesses why drivers use mobile phones whilst driving

Using a hand held mobile phone when you’re driving has been illegal in the UK for many years. This has been widely publicised and it would be difficult for any driver, especially one who drives as a part of their job, to admit not being aware of this law.

It’s now widely acknowledged that using a mobile phone, even with a legal hands free kit, reduces your ability to concentrate on driving and the chances of having a collision increase substantially.

Despite considerable publicity associated with incidents involving serious injury or even death, why do some people continue to use mobile phones when they are driving?

Surprisingly, a large number of people admit to using their mobile phones illegally, with some surveys finding up to 60% of respondents admitting to regularly breaking the law. A recent study conducted in Australia believes that the explanation lies with the ‘Theory of Planned Behaviour’.

This theory suggests that there are three reasons why people behave in a particular way:
• their attitudes towards the behaviour
• their subjective norms and the amount that their behaviour might be influenced by others
• their perceived behavioural control or their belief in how well they can carry out the behaviour

In addition to these behavioural components, it’s also possible that the driver’s personality and the driving situation may influence whether someone will use a mobile phone when driving.

Researcher Mark Rozario and colleagues asked participants to rate how likely they were to use a mobile phone in different situations; when either driving alone or with passengers and when either being early or late to arrive somewhere.

More follows on page two...

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  • Santia Training - 04/03/2011 12:25

    Using a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal and dangerous, why people consistantly flout this law is astonishing.

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