Are You Compulsive About Texting & Driving? Survey Says...You Could Be

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Are You Compulsive About Texting & Driving? Survey Says...You Could Be

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 4:05pm



Expert on Tech Addiction Says Issue Cuts Straight to the Brain

AT&T DriveMode® App, Now Available for iPhone, Helps Fight the Temptation

If the ring, beep or buzz of your cell phone triggers an intense urge to respond, and you find yourself reaching for the phone – even when you’re driving – you’re not alone.

A new survey commissioned by AT&T* and Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, found that twice as many people as self-reported cell phone addiction are showing compulsive phone behaviors – with three-in-four people admitting to at least glancing at their phones while behind the wheel.

“We compulsively check our phones because every time we get an update through text, email or social media, we experience an elevation of dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that makes us feel happy,” says Dr. Greenfield. “If that desire for a dopamine fix leads us to check our phones while we’re driving, a simple text can turn deadly.”

The study, fielded as part of the Texting & Driving … It Can Wait® campaign, was released as AT&T is focused on helping people find ways to resist the urge to text and drive at a potentially deadly moment of temptation.

  • The AT&T DriveMode** app for iPhone is now available on the App Store – making it the first free no-texting-while-driving application offered by a major U.S. wireless carrier that works on the iPhone. The app is easy-to-use. It silences incoming text message alerts, turns on automatically when one drives 15 MPH or more and turns off shortly after one stops. When activated, it automatically responds to incoming SMS and MMS text messages so the sender knows the text recipient is driving. It also allows parents with young drivers to receive a text message if the app is turned off.
  • The It Can Wait campaign is working with celebrities to help drive adoption of a new social shorthand, “#X.” You can use it in social media, text or email to signal to others that you’re pausing the conversation before you drive, and that you’ll get back to them when you arrive safely at your destination.

The survey included some startling revelations about how our attachment to our mobile phones can lead us to use them when we’re driving – even when we know we shouldn’t.

While over 90 percent say they know texting and driving is dangerous, many rationalize their texting-and-driving behavior—a classic sign of addiction, according to Dr. Greenfield. Nearly three-in-ten said they can easily do several things at once, even while driving. “However, many objective studies show that’s not possible,” says Dr. Greenfield.

According to the research, those who are most likely to text and drive are also the most likely to take steps to stop. And 82 percent of people who take action to stop texting and driving feel good about themselves.

It Can Wait is making a difference. The campaign has inspired more than 5 million pledges to never text and drive, and more than 1.8 million downloads of the Android and Blackberry versions of the DriveMode app. But more work needs to be done to help end texting while driving.

To learn more about It Can Wait, please visit

The AT&T DriveMode app is available for free on the App Store for iPhone or at

This post originally appeared on the  AT&T Newsroom.

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About Dr. David Greenfield and The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction

Dr. David Greenfield is founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He is recognized as a leading authority on Internet, computer, and digital media behavior—including compulsive and addictive use. Dr. Greenfield’s recent research and clinical work is focused why digital technologies are abused and how we might use technology in a more balanced and healthy manner. The mission of the Center is to provide public education, prevention, professional/medical training, conduct research, and consult on how to balance the technology/productivity equation. The Center also provides treatment services to alleviate the impact of compulsive use of Internet, Smartphone, and Digital Media Technology. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Technology | AT&T | ICW | It can wait | driving | texting