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Texting While Driving: The Dopamine Defense.

July 19, 2016 Published in Car Accidents,Firm News

You see them every day, people looking down at their phones instead of at the road. They sit idle while the light changes or are puttering along much slower than the posted speed limit. Or worse yet, they drift from one side of their lane to the other, oblivious.

Most, if not all of us, like to drive safely. Yet our roads are plagued with drivers texting at the wheel.

In fact, a recent AT&T study of 1,000 telephone respondents found that 98% of us believe texting while driving is dangerous, but only 74% of us are able to avoid doing it. Even fewer of us admit fault when we do.

Why is there such a discrepancy between what we believe is right and what we do?

The problem has to do with dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in our brains called the “reward chemical” because it is associated with pleasure. It has other functions as well, such as regulating movement and attention control. But with texting, and texting and driving, it is what is released when we get a text. It excites us. 

With texting and driving then, our wants override our likes. We want to know what the message that someone has sent us is, and we want to respond. Manufacturers understand this and have created devices, mostly for parents to install under the vehicle dashboard to prevent their teens from texting while driving.

However, texting behind the wheel is illegal and banned in 46 states and the District of Columbia. According to the US Department of Transportation, texting is the cause of 1.6 million auto crashes, 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths a year in our country, something nobody wants. If you’ve been injured by a texting-while-driving driver talk to an experienced attorney to insure your rights are protected.