Understanding Mobile Phone Usage While Driving: Mini-Bus and Taxi Drivers’ Experiences In Istanbul

Understanding Mobile Phone Usage While Driving: Mini-Bus and Taxi Drivers’ Experiences In Istanbul

Ronan de Kervenoael (Sabanci University, Turkey & Aston University, UK) and Canan Devletkusu (Dogus University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-818-6.ch012
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In emerging markets, the amount of mobile communication and the number of occasions mobile phones are used are increasing. More and more settings appropriate or not for mobile phone usage are being exposed. Although prohibited by many governments, there is evidence that use of new mobile devices while driving are somehow becoming current everyday practice, hence legitimatizing usage for many users. Dominant dangerous behavior in the absence of enforced legal framework is being deployed and has become routine for many m-users. This chapter adopts a qualitative case study approach (20 cases) to examine the public transport drivers’ motives, logic and legitimacy processes. The question which these issues raise in the light of advancing m-technologies is: How do, in the context of emerging market, undesired emerging routines enactment get to be reflected upon and voluntarily disregarded to maximize the benefits of m-technologies while minimizing their drawbacks? Findings point out at multiple motives for usage including external social pressure through the ubiquitous 24/7 usage of m-technology, lack of alternative communication protocol, real time need for action and from an internal perspectives boredoms, lack of danger awareness, blurring of the boundaries between personal and business life and lack of job fulfillment are uncovered as key factors. As secondary dynamic factors such as education, drivers work’ histories, impunity, lack of strong consumer opposition appear central in shaping the development of the routines.
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Dominant dangerous behaviour in the absence of an enforced legal framework is often described as becoming routine practice for many mobile phone users (Hussain, Al-Shakarchi, Mahmoudi, & Marshall, 2006). Along with advances in mobile technologies (e.g. Phone, GPS, DVD in cars, PDAs), as many emerging countries, since its liberalization period in the mid 1980s, Turkey has experienced a rapid increase in motorization without having adequate road traffic safety mechanisms in place to control the growing number of emerging unwanted behaviours. Characteristics which are common to a number of developing countries include a relatively high proportion of accident involving pedestrian and children and many fatal accidents involving trucks, buses and other public service vehicles (Downing, Baguley, & Hills, 1991). Contributory individual factors observed in Pakistan, Egypt, Jamaica, Thailand, Kenya, Chile, India and Zimbabwe often involve a combination of road user errors, ranging from crossing continuous no-overtaking lines, not stopping at stop signs, lack of knowledge of stopping and following distances, overloading of goods and passengers, passenger transported in open pick-ups, lack of safety education and overall less disciplined users. Chronic institutional system failure point out to a range of issues including mix road usage (e.g. shared with non-motorized vehicles), deficiencies in the road environment, abnormal number of junctions per kilometer, lack of traffic calming designs, ill equipped police, lax attitude of the authorities, unresponsive judicial system to lack of licensing and training to ensure standards especially for professional drivers (Downing, 1985; Jacobs, 1976; Kosasih, Robinson, & Snell, 1987; Sayer & Downing, 1981). In addition, political issues involving populist approaches, amnesties and conflicting signals between the various government agencies are also often present (Baharoglu & Leitmann, 1998).

This study examines the formal and informal institutional frameworks for road safety enforcement regarding mobile phone usage by professional drivers in emerging markets through an in depth case study of Istanbul min-bus and taxi experiences. The objective of the research is to improve the understanding of individual and institutional constraints that contribute to inadequate behaviours and mobile phone usage while driving. The understanding of incentives and behaviours that are motivated by existing institutional rules and personal habits, both formal and informal, currently result in failure to adequately meet expected behaviour and require new approaches.

Numerous models of driver behaviour are present in the literature focusing mainly on driver decision-making (Janssen & Tenkink, 1988). Models ranging from prospect theory, utility theory and homeostasis theory have been applied centered on the perception of risk against benefits (Calisir & Lehto, 2002). Behaviours are found to be judgement or rule based depending on the level of task performance (Lehto, 1991). Social sciences have employed other models including theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), and theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). Behaviours’ intentions are determined by attitudes, subjectives norms and perceived behavioural control (Rothengatter & Mansted, 1997). An extended TPB model further included the constructs of moral norms, anticipated regret and habit (Aberg, 2001). Anticipated affective consequence of breaking internalized moral rules (regret) and habits were recognized as particularly important in the case of driving behaviour. From a social psychological perspective, health belief models have also been used to understand how attitude, beliefs and norms influence drivers (Simsekoglu & Lajunen, 2008; Stroebe, 2000).

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