Texting and driving has been a growing problem in the United States for years. More and more law enforcement officials are making efforts to reduce texting while driving in order to keep roads safer. No matter how much we are told the dangers of texting and driving, people are still unable to stop. Experts on technology addiction have gone as far as to say we have become addicted to checking our phones while driving.
In a report by Forbes, David Greenfield, expert on technology addiction, says, “Every time we get an update through text, email or social media, we experience an elevation in dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that makes us feel happy.” According to Greenfield, it has gotten to the point where we have a true dependence on our phones and the instant gratification that notifications provide.
New App Fights Texting and Driving
Phone companies such as AT&T are making efforts to eliminate the lure of using your phone while driving. Their app, DriveMode, is designed to silence all notifications if your phone begins travelling faster than 15mph, and shuts off once your phone stops moving. In addition, the app automatically replies to texts to let others know you are driving, and lets parents know when their child turns the app off while driving. Apps like DriveMode can make a difference in our addiction to driving by eliminating notifications, which are what draws us to constantly check our phones.
In a survey conducted by Greenfield in collaboration with AT&T, they discovered that 98% of those surveyed do agree that texting while driving is dangerous. However, in that same study, 74% of people participating admitted to texting or similar activities while driving. Similar activities include reading and sending messages, checking social media, and more.
There is nothing wrong with texting or using your phone to browse social media. However, once you get behind the wheel of a car these activities become dangerous and even deadly, and leads to reckless driving. We all compulsively check our phones, whether we are waiting to meet someone or just bored, and we have all gotten into the habit of paying attention to our phones over other things. There are steps to beat the “addiction” we have to our phones, but the first step is to pledge to be a safer driver and put the phone away the minute we get behind the wheel.