A ban on text-messaging at the wheel takes effect this summer, but it may take a lot longer for Hoosiers to break the habit. Butler University psychology professor Mandy Gingerich says that for many people texting has become an ingrained, compulsive behavior that may prove difficult to quit.
“It’s so ingrained in how people communicate these days,” he said, “especially younger people, that it will be almost—at the risk of sounding a little too melodramatic—almost like an addiction to try to overcome.”
The prospect of a fine of up to five hundred dollars, Gingerich says, may just have the effect of making texters try to hid what they are doing—and that could make safety concerns worse. Part of the problem, she says, is that travelers rely on their Blackberrys and iPhones to get directions in the moment, rather than figuring out their routes before getting in the car.
“It’s going to be really difficult,” she said, “for people to change the way they plan for things, and to manage their time in totally different ways that will allow for them to get from point A to point B without being in communication with the person they’re going to meet.”
The ban on texting at the wheel will be implemented July 1.