Many keep texting, even after crashing

June 30, 2011 at 8:35 PM
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 30 (UPI) -- Thirty-five percent of U.S. college students admit they use cellphone applications while driving -- even after being in a crash, a survey indicates.

Lauren McCartney, a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who conducted the survey, says participants seemed to understand that using mobile apps while driving is dangerous -- and some have even experienced motor vehicle crashes while using mobile apps, but they continue to use them while driving.

McCartney says one in 10 of the respondents say they often, almost always or always use mobile apps while driving, while more than one-third use them sometimes.

"Internet use involves substantial cognitive and visual distraction that exceeds talking or texting, making it much more dangerous," McCartney says in a statement.

The survey included 93 students at UAB who own a smartphone and use Internet-based applications on it at least four or more times per week

It is not a random sample but David Schwebel, director of the UAB Youth Safety Lab says the finding is still cause for concern.

"Driving a car is an incredibly complex task for humans to complete safely," Schwebel says. "There are enormous cognitive, perceptual and motor tasks an automobile driver must complete, frequently very quickly and with split-second precision."

The findings are scheduled to be presented in August at the 119th American Psychological Association convention in Washington.

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