Washington, Feb 27: Even though most drivers believe it is dangerous to text and drive, many say they can still do it safely.
Now Washington State University researchers say that drivers can be discouraged from the practice with public service announcements that evoke their fear of death in graphic terms.
Looking to curb what former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called “a national epidemic,” WSU marketing professors Ioannis Kareklas and Darrel Muehling recently explored driver attitudes toward texting.
They examined various ways to discourage texting while driving through public service announcements, or PSAs.
The study comes as distracted driving is implicated in thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year.
The researchers cite a National Safety Council estimate that distracted cell phone use accounts for more than one-fourth of all traffic accidents, with as many as 200,000 stemming specifically from texting while driving.
There is also evidence suggesting that texting while driving may be addictive, said Kareklas.
The findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs.