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Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Think you can talk on phone and drive safely? Think again

March 31, 2010

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While we’d all like to think we are the exception to the rule and can drive and talk on the phone successfully, the “odds are overwhelmingly against it,” a new study’s authors say.

While we’d all like to think we are the exception to the rule and can drive and talk on the phone successfully, the “odds are overwhelmingly against it,” a new study’s authors say.

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— Only a talented few can simultaneously talk on a cell phone and drive safely, according to a study from researchers at the University of Utah.

The danger of a study like this is, of course, that everyone will think they are in the 2.5 percent of all people whom the study found to be “supertaskers.” The pertinent fact is that 97.5 percent of us can’t drive safely while talking on the phone — even a hands-free phone.

The researchers assessed the performance of 200 people using simulated freeway driving while conducting a conversation on a hands-free phone that involved memorizing words and solving some math problems. Performance was measured in braking, reaction time, following distance, memory and math execution.

For the vast majority of people, performance suffered in both driving and comprehension. Braking time increased by 20 percent while following distances increased by 30 percent. Memory performance declined 11 percent and math performance 3 percent. The deterioration in performance was comparable to the impairment seen in drunken drivers, the authors said.

A few individuals, however, were supertaskers — they could successfully perform the two tasks at once.

“There is clearly something special about supertaskers,” said the authors, David Strayer and Jason Watson, in a news release.

The study is published this week in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

Comments

number3of5 4 years ago

Doing anything except concentrating on your driving skills, while behind the wheel of a car is dangerous. No one needs to be tied to a phone 24/7. Cell phones tend to do just that. Most people cannot resist the desire to talk to someone on it when awake, whether driving or going to the barthroom or even while eating. Texting is just one of the ways that they accomplish this. I personally would love to throw my cell phone away, but my family feels that I need in for emergencies. I never talked on one while driving. I never dialed the radio while driving. I have however corrected children while driving, but this was before seat belts were installed in vehicles to restrain the children. Most of the other drivers I see on the road don't even know the basic rules of driving, let alone drive safely while using a cell phone.

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Jackie Jackasserson 4 years ago

how many of you solve math problems and recite from memory specific passages while talking on your cell phone?

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