Following a previous study that reported a large number of young adult drivers text and drive, the current study investigated this behavior by looking at patterns of use and driver assessment of the risk of the behavior. The data from the current study converge with and extended the previous work showing 70% of the 348 young adult drivers surveyed report initiating texts while driving while higher numbers reply to texts (81%) and read texts (92%) while driving. Additional drivers also report doing these behaviors, but only while stopped in traffic, showing only 2% never text and drive under any circumstances. The drivers indicated that they perceived these behaviors to be very risky and riskier than talking on a cell phone while driving, but perception of risk was a very weak predictor of behavior (for initiating texts) or had no effect on texting (for replying or reading texts while driving). In addition, a factor analysis of the perception of road conditions while texting revealed that making the choice to engage in texting (initiating) led drivers to perceive road conditions as being safer than if they replied to a text or read a text, suggesting that choosing to engage in the behavior itself changes attitudes toward risk.
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