READING - Cell Phones & Driving, a Research Update

AAA FTS logoA growing body of research suggests that using a mobile telephone while driving increases a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash. Studies that have analyzed the cell phone records of crash-involved drivers have reported that using a cell phone while driving is associated with roughly a quadrupling of crash risk. Studies using driving simulators have also found that cell phone use significantly impairs several aspects of driving performance, principally reaction time. Studies comparing the risks associated with using hand-held and hands-free cell phones while driving have found them indistinguishable—both increase risk. Meanwhile, available data shows that the number of cell phone subscribers, and the proportion of drivers using cell phones, is increasing. This research update presents new data from the AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally-representative telephone survey of the American public, on drivers’ cell phone use and their attitudes toward distracted driving, as well as data on driver cell phone use from a recent omnibus survey conducted for the AAA Foundation.


Handheld or hands-free: it makes no difference

An interesting study on this subject can be found here:

The most important take-away from this study is this sentence: "The cognitive distraction from paying attention to conversation – from listening and responding to a disembodied voice – contributes to numerous driving impairments."

What I find really interesting is when I point fellow drivers to this paper, the response is typically, "Interesting, but I don't agree. I can drive just fine while talking on a hands-free set."

I think this points to the root problem - drivers know their cell phone conversations are distracting and cause impairments but are too selfish to give up the luxury.

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