EMF Health-effects Research

Dialling and driving: factors influencing intentions to use a mobile phone while driving,

Walsh SP, White KM, Hyde MK, Watson B

Accid Anal Prev, 40(6):1893-1900, 2008

Despite being identified as an unsafe (and, in some jurisdictions, illegal) driving practice, the psychological factors underlying people's decision to use their mobile phone while driving have received little attention. The present study utilised the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to examine the role of attitudes, norms, control factors, and risk perceptions, in predicting people's intentions to use their mobile phone while driving.

We examined the predictors of intentions to use a mobile phone while driving in general, and for calling and text messaging in 4 scenarios differing in descriptions of vehicle speed and time pressure. There was some support for the TPB given that attitudes consistently predicted intentions to drive while using a mobile phone and that pressure from significant others (norms) determined some phone use while driving intentions, although less support was found for the role of perceptions of control.

Risk was not generally predictive of safer driving intentions. These findings indicate that different factors influence each form of mobile phone use while driving and, hence, a multi-strategy approach is likely to be required to address the issue.

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