Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Ferrante, Jonathan Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-06072012-122548 Title TEXTING LAWS AND CELL PHONE USERS: MOTIVATIONS FOR TEXTING WHILE DRIVING Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.) Department Mass Communication Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Reynolds, Amy Committee Chair Freeman, Craig Committee Member Porter, Lance Committee Member Keywords
- distracted driving
- texting laws
Date of Defense 2012-04-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Legal scholars, academics, and industry researchers have indicated that using cell phones when driving is among the most dangerous hazard faced by motorists today. This relatively new technology is embedded in the lives of most people, at all times of the day, including when behind the wheel of a car. Harvard and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration researchers have exposed the dangers of cell phones and driving, but a solution to curtail the problem has yet to be found. This study seeks to understand the motivations and mediating factors affecting texting and driving law compliance by cell phone users. I conducted a survey that gathered preliminary data that was used to create an outline for two focus groups. The survey results showed that 18 to 21 year old undergraduates are highly knowledgeable (92 percent) about texting and driving laws, receive the majority of this information from friends, parents, and news sources, and have experienced, seen, or heard at least one negative story about texting and driving. The two focus groups explained the knowledge and motivations further. Participants reported a high degree of self-efficacy when multitasking with digital devices. This, coupled with what the participants perceived to be ineffective laws, prompted increased usage and deficient self-regulation. This project reveals how a digital native’s hyper usage of mobile communication devices combined with texting and driving laws that are poorly crafted has created an atmosphere where texting and driving is neither constrained by laws or self-regulation.
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