Is Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Killing Texting-Talking Drivers Behind Wheel?
It has actually become a scientific syndrome, a behavioral issue that plagues many young drivers. It's called FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out.
It's the compulsion that 'forces' people to constantly check their phone or mobile device, or to instantly respond when they hear the 'ting' of a text, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook message or other communication or alert.
Despite the barrage of 'don't text and drive' or talk and drive messages, researchers say FOMO is winning out.
According to an article at inverse.com, an Australian study was done involving 447 drivers. It found FOMO produces a "separation anxiety" type of reaction when a driver doesn't pick up the phone upon getting an alert or message. Or, even going a few minutes without looking at their digital device. This information was re-distributed nationally by PEMCO Insurance.
Researchers say FOMO is a powerful motivator for behavior, and those who 'suffer' from it are seeking a tactile sense of 'social fulfillment.' Trying to lower the estimated 3,450 deaths in 2016 linked to a digitally distracted driver as well as the 562 pedestrian, cyclist and other related deaths, cities, counties and states are passing more and more penalties for digital use behind the wheel.
While the stiffer penalties appear to be curbing digital distracted driving, researchers say they're a long ways off from finding ways to 'cure' or deal with FOMO syndrome.