I find this quite true:
…the cigarette analogy [is] more apt [to driving while operating a vehicle] than drunken driving because … people who drive drunk do not find any satisfaction in doing so. In contrast, checking e-mail or chatting while driving might relieve the tedium of being behind the wheel.
This idea leads me to think there’s also a link with the automated systems on the road, like stop lights, that implicitly enable us to pay less attention to the act of driving.
From “News Analysis: Reframing the Debate Over Using Phones While Driving” in the New York Times.