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How Texting-And-Driving Is Like Having Sex

Americans know that texting is dangerous when driving. By now it is common knowledge that distracted drivers cause more than half a million injuries each year, and thousands of deaths. Nevertheless, almost half of all adult drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel. Why do they (we) do it?

One expert, the founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, believes that texting-while-driving is prevalent because our brains respond to smartphone pings in the same way they respond to other sensual pleasures. Specifically, when our phone tweets, bings, or chimes, we get a hit of dopamine - the same neurotransmitter released during sex.

We can't help ourselves

"The dopamine reward centers are the same centers that have to do with pleasure from eating, pleasure from sex and procreation, pleasure from drugs and alcohol," the expert told CNN. "This reward circuitry is (as) old as time and if we didn't have it, we probably wouldn't exist as a species."

Simply put, we derive so much pleasure from receiving a text message that we are compelled to answer even if it puts us in danger.

Numbers don't die

But numbers don't lie and the results of texting-and-driving are sobering. Here are some important statistics highlighting the dangers of distracted driving:

  • Every day, nine Americans die in motor vehicle accidents related to distracted driving
  • 25% of motoring accidents involved a cell phone
  • Using a cell phone while driving raises your risk of being in a crash by 4 times
  • A driver loses control after only 2 seconds of not having their eyes on the road
  • Studies show that distracted drivers cause in excess of 500,000 injuries each year.

Staying safe is important. But the task becomes more difficult when we have to protect ourselves...from ourselves.

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