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Unformatted text preview: An Exploratory Examinatwn Terrance G. Gabel, Traman State University Nicholas Schandler, Truman State University ABSTRACT This exploratory inquiry expands upon recent mass media accounts of the nature and consequences of distracted driving behavior (DDB) by examining the phenomenon from a heretofore lacking consumption perspective. Observational and interview data collectively suggest that DDB is a complex, multi-faceted area of consumption behavior that cannot be meaningfully understood nor regulated without consideration of the consumption-related motivations which lead to its occurrence. Data also suggest, more specifically, that limited consumer choice may play a major role in the decision to engage in DDB. Implications for public policy and future research are addressed. Recent research suggests that distracted driving behavior (DDB) is a major cause of traffic accidents in the United States. Media coverage of this issue, as well as calls for DDB legislation, peaked in the summer of 2000 following the release of a study sponsored by Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). This study found, among other things, that DDB: 1) helps cause 25 to 50 percent of all highway collisions, 2) costs the nation between $40 billion and $80 billion each year, and 3) is the country's fourth most serious driving safety issue. Largely ignored in the NETS study, as well as in subsequent mass media coverage of DDB, is the fact that virtually all of behaviors commonly discussed as constituting DDB are consump- tion activities. The purpose of the present inquiry is to help remedy this neglect by extending recent discussion of DDB from a con- sumption perspective. Data suggest that DDB is a complex, multi- faceted area of consumption behavior that cannot be meaningfully understood nor regulated without consideration of the constmip- tion-related motivations which lead to its occurrence. Data also suggest, more specifically, that limited consumer choice may play a major role in the decision to engage in DDB. DISTRACTED DRIVING BEHAVIOR The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is a Washington, D.C.-based alliance of 8,500 organizations represent- ing a wide variety of industries. Its mission "is to reduce traffic crashes involving America's workers and their families by helping employers implement well-developed policies, dynamic work- place programs, and compelling community activities related to traffic safety" (www.trafficsafety.org/about/ [accessed 3/7/01]). NETS holds that DDB occurs "when a driver performs any activity that may distract his or her full attention from the driving task" (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety 2000, paragraph 9). According to NETS, the most common distracting behaviors in- clude tuning a radio, eating, drinking beverages, talking with passengers, reading and writing, talking on the phone, and personal grooming (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety 2000)....
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This note was uploaded on 09/05/2011 for the course ENGLISH 102 taught by Professor Bailey during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.
- Spring '11
- The Land