UAB study finds correlation between personality and distracted d - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

UAB study finds correlation between personality and distracted driving

UAB study finds correlation between personality and distracted driving. Source: WBRC file photo UAB study finds correlation between personality and distracted driving. Source: WBRC file photo
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

According to a new study from The University of Alabama at Birmingham, your personality might affect how you behave behind the wheel. The
research team studied 120 drivers from two high-risk groups, teens, and older adults.

“One thing is common among both of those groups and that is they tend to engage in distracted driving,” said Dr. Despina Stavrinos, director of the UAB Translational Research for Injury Prevention (TRIP) Laboratory.

Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 and adults between the ages of 65 and 85 participated in a questionnaire. They answered questions about their personality and frequency of being distracted while driving.

"We found that in teens, if you're more conscientious and more open to new experiences and have that thrill-seeking trait, you're more likely to text and interact while driving,” said Morgan Parr. “But in older adults, extroversion was a significant factor in only talking and interacting."

Parr is an undergraduate student at UAB and led the project. She said the findings were interesting. For example, in older adults, being extroverted was a significant factor in talking and interacting while driving.  

"The agreeableness population, those are the people who really want to follow the rules and expect people, if they're going to be safe, they expect others to be safe,” Parr said.

“They were found to be less likely, the more agreeable you are, the less likely you are to text and interact with your phone while you’re driving," Parr said.

Parr hopes this research will start a conversation between teen drivers, parents, driver’s education teachers and anyone who gets behind the wheel or has a loved one who does.

Distracted driving is a rising cause of fatal wrecks and she hopes the research can help lower the statistics.

"I think that people need to be well aware of what might cause them, as well as what they can look for in themselves to know that they're at a higher risk of being a part of those collisions,” she said.

The study was published online this month in an academic journal. 

You can find the full report here.

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