"Nomophobia", or the fear of mobile phone withdrawal, is affecting large section of young people who admit that they are more focused on sending out or reading the latest message on their smartphones instead of paying attention on the road while driving.
SOME people call it "fomo" - fear of missing out - while others refer to it as "nomophobia" - no mobile phone phobia.
Either way, Australian research suggests it is a deadly insecurity that is making roads a lot less safe.
The biggest sufferers of "nomophobia" are young people who are so petrified of missing out on something happening via their mobile phones that they are reaching out for their mobiles even when behind the wheel.
According to a new Australian survey, more than half of young drivers admit to sending text messages while driving.
The 11th AAMI Young Drivers Index, published Thursday, revealed 18- to 24-year-old drivers are less likely to drink-drive and speed, but are more likely to be distracted by their cell phone, GPS unit, iPod, radio or CD player.
AAMI spokesman Reuben Aitchison said younger drivers particularly suffer "nomophobia", as 58 percent admitted to sending or reading a text message or MMS while driving.
"The average text takes around five seconds to read so if you are going 100kph [62mph], you'll hurtle along the length of a footy field with your eyes off the road, only one hand on the wheel and your mind elsewhere," News.com.au quoted him as saying.
"It is shocking to think of relatively inexperienced drivers tearing down the road, not paying attention to what's going on around them," he said.
The survey found that 46 percent of 18- to 24-year-old drivers polled used their cell phone to make a call without a hands-free set, while 20 percent read emails or checked the internet while driving.
Aitchison said a third admit to in-putting information on a satellite navigation system while driving and nearly half of young drivers said they had lost concentration while changing music while driving.
The study has been published in The Advertiser.