Younger female drivers under the age of 25 are 1.63 times more likely to use a cell phone while driving than male motorists, a new study has found. It also found that drivers under 25 years old are four times more likely to use a cell phone while driving compared to older drivers.
Unaccompanied drivers were also far more likely to use their cell phones than those who had other people in the car, according to the study published in Preventive Medicine Reports.
“The data show us that females and younger drivers are most likely to use the phone while driving, which means that public safety campaigns could benefit from targeting those two groups,” said R. Sue Day from the University of Texas, Houston.
Data was collected on a weekday each year from 2011- 2013 by students enrolled in an epidemiology course on field research methods at each of the School of Public Health’s regional campuses. The students observed drivers stopped at randomly selected intersections, recording cell phone use (talking or texting), seat belt use, presence of passengers, and driver and vehicle characteristics.
Cell phone use overall seemed to decrease over the years in Texas, starting at 20.5 percent in 2011 and dropping to 16.4 per cent in 2013, according to the study.
The 2010 national prevalence estimate for using a cell phone while driving was nearly 9 percent, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Drivers talking on the phone while driving decreased by 5.5 per cent, but texting while driving increased by two percent from 2011 and 2013, according to the study results.
“Drivers distracted by cell phones pose a safety threat to pedestrians and motorists in these areas,” Day said.