Identifier

etd-06072012-122548

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

ABSTRACT Legal scholars, academics, and industry researchers have indicated that using cell phones when driving is among the most dangerous hazard faced by motorists today. This relatively new technology is embedded in the lives of most people, at all times of the day, including when behind the wheel of a car. Harvard and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration researchers have exposed the dangers of cell phones and driving, but a solution to curtail the problem has yet to be found. This study seeks to understand the motivations and mediating factors affecting texting and driving law compliance by cell phone users. I conducted a survey that gathered preliminary data that was used to create an outline for two focus groups. The survey results showed that 18 to 21 year old undergraduates are highly knowledgeable (92 percent) about texting and driving laws, receive the majority of this information from friends, parents, and news sources, and have experienced, seen, or heard at least one negative story about texting and driving. The two focus groups explained the knowledge and motivations further. Participants reported a high degree of self-efficacy when multitasking with digital devices. This, coupled with what the participants perceived to be ineffective laws, prompted increased usage and deficient self-regulation. This project reveals how a digital native’s hyper usage of mobile communication devices combined with texting and driving laws that are poorly crafted has created an atmosphere where texting and driving is neither constrained by laws or self-regulation.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reynolds, Amy

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