Young motorists obsessed with their online connections are twice as likely to send a 'sneaky' concealed text message from behind the wheel, a new Queensland University of Technology study claims.
Cassandra Gauld from the QUT Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety Queensland said that drivers aged 17-25 are most likely to offend, making up 50 percent of survey respondents that admitted to texting "in a concealed manner".
Some 60 percent of respondents had also admitted to reading a received message in a concealed manner. Conversely, 31 percent admitted to reading messages in an overt manner.
"This suggests that the more involved a driver is with their mobile phone the more likely they are to believe that staying connected with others is more important than the negative consequences of engaging in risky behaviours such as concealed texting while driving," Ms Gould said.
"The study showed drivers' perceived need for connectiveness may override their perceived risk of engaging in these illegal activities."
The study found that a young driver's "moral view" of texting behind the wheel could also be a predictor of whether or not they would offend.
"Young drivers who believe texting while driving is an 'immoral behaviour' are less likely to send a text in a concealed or overt manner," Ms Gould said.
Ms Gauld said that tougher laws and police operations could prove less useful with these types of motorists, and suggested that focused advertising should be pursued.
"Advertising strategies should be aimed at making young drivers reconsider the deliberate engaging in these very risky behaviours," she said.
"For concealed texting, advertising should challenge the perceived need to constantly be connected by highlighting the importance of getting to their destination safely, over texting an immediate reply."