Using social norms theory, this study investigates how individuals are affected by the perceived texting behaviors of their significant other. A sample of 835 undergraduate drivers, with a mean age of 21.57 years, were surveyed about the influence of perceived risk of texting while driving within the past month. Participants were separated into two groups, low-risk drivers who had never received a traffic citation or been involved in a crash, and high-risk drivers who had previously received a traffic citation or been involved in a crash.
Results showed that 70% of participants believed that the chances of being involved in a crash while texting and driving was very likely. However, 58% of participants stated that they had texted while driving within the past month. The majority (71%) of participants had never been involved in a crash. A relatively equal percentage stated they had received a traffic ticket (46%) versus those that had never received a ticket (53%). Further, the effects of the perceived texting behaviors of a person’s significant other were more likely to occur in groups with a distinctly different traffic safety risk involvement, especially among low-risk female drivers.
Trivedi, N., & Beck, K. H. (2018). Do significant others influence college-aged students texting and driving behaviors? Examination of the mediational influence of proximal and distal social influence on distracted driving. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 56, 14-21.