Do we really need to use our smartphones while driving?

Oren Musicant, Tsippy Lotan, Gila Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Smartphone usage while driving, a prominent type of driver distraction, has become a major concern in the area of road safety. Answers to an internet survey by 757 Israeli drivers who own smartphones were analyzed with focus on two main purposes: (1) to gain insights regarding patterns of smartphone usage while driving and its motivation, (2) to probe drivers' views on the perceived risk and the need to use smartphones while driving, as well as their willingness to use blocking apps that limit such usages. Phone calls and texting were found to be the most common usages while driving, hence, both were chosen to be further analyzed. 73% (N = 551) of the respondents make phone calls while driving and almost half of them may be considered frequent callers as they admit to do it intensively while driving. As for texting, 35% of the respondents (N = 256) text while driving and a quarter of them do so frequently. While phone calls were perceived to compromise safety by 34% of the users, texting was perceived to compromise safety by 84% of the users. However, we found that drivers place limitations on themselves as more than 70% avoid texting when they think they need to devote attention to driving. A logistic regression model indicates that perceived need and perceived safety are significant factors associated with being a frequent smartphone phone calls user, but only perceived need significantly predicts being a frequent texting user. Approximately half of all the respondents are willing to try an app which blocks smartphone usage while driving. The willingness to use such technology was found to be related primarily to perceived need. Less significant factors are work-related usage and perceived safety. Frequency of usage was not found to affect this willingness, indicating that it should not be a factor in designing and implementing interventions to limit smartphone usage while driving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2015


  • Driver distraction
  • Phone calls
  • Road safety
  • Smartphone
  • Texting


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