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Messenger A recent police clampdown on driving while using hand-held mobile phones caught nearly 8, UK drivers in a weekostensibly reflecting a widespread disregard of a law intended to protect all. But is using a hand-held mobile phone really that dangerous when driving?
In fact, the evidence is irrefutable. Hundreds of research studies have been conducted around the world, and they all agree that use of mobile phones while driving is dangerous and pervasive. Studies conducted in both simulators and in the real world have shown that drivers on a mobile phone reduce their visual scanning of the road ahead, are more likely to weave within their lane on bends, and are slower to respond to hazards.
It is easy to understand why using a hand-held phone is a problem: For many people, this is the obvious reason why hand-held calls are banned while driving. But there is another problem: We cannot attend to everything in the world at the same time, so we must prioritise some stimuli over others.
If we prioritise a conversation over road safety, then we risk a crash. Only so much brain One of my favourite studies in this area was undertaken by Marcel Just at Carnegie Mellon University. Participants drove along a winding road in a rudimentary simulator, controlled via a mouse, while lying in an fMRI scanner to record brain activity.
In one condition, participants had to engage in a sentence comprehension task while driving, similar to engaging in a mobile phone conversation. When they looked at brain activity, it became apparent why. In the control condition, there was a lot of activity in the parietal lobe of the brain, considered to be vital for spatial processing.
During the dual task however, activation became apparent in the temporal lobes, reflecting the processing of the auditory messages. This increase in temporal-lobe activation corresponded with a significant decrease in parietal-lobe activation, clearly suggesting that the auditory task was commandeering attention, and diverting it away from the safety-critical driving task.
As I was saying … Shutterstock Many such studies have demonstrated that the demands of a meaningful conversation can account for a large amount, if not the majority, of the increased risk during driving.
The obvious implication is that hands-free phone calls may be almost as dangerous as a hand-held call. Thanks to the ban, at least drivers know they are doing something illegal and potentially dangerous when making a hand-held call, so one might hope that they moderate their driving behaviour to compensate — by slowing down, for example.
But drivers who are engaged in a hands-free conversation may have a false sense of security due to the implicit support of the law for this medium. Fans of hands-free calls may also argue that such conversations are no different to those held with a passenger in the car.
The evidencehowever, begs to differ. One big difference between in-car and mobile phone conversations is that the passenger can see what the driver sees.
If the driver is trying to enter a fast-flowing motorway from a slip road, the passenger might, quite sensibly, shut up for a minute until the manoeuvre is complete. Indeed, evidence suggests that if the driver becomes quiet at times of high demand, the remote partner may increase their level of communication to fill the silent, social void.
Thus a mobile conversation can demand even more attention, at the worst possible time. The hand-held law is necessary and important, but if it is not combined with warnings about the dangers of hands-free calls, then it may inadvertently promote an almost equally distracting and dangerous behaviour.The Problem of Aggressive Driving What This Guide Does and Does Not Cover.
This guide begins by describing the problem of aggressive driving and reviewing factors that increase its risks.
How big is the problem?
Among teen drivers, those at especially high risk for motor vehicle crashes are: Males: In , the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was two times that of their female counterparts.
2; Teens driving with teen passengers: The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk.
|Hands-free Devices||Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver. On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.|
|Hands-free cellphones make driving more dangerous, not less - The Boston Globe||Stricter laws have been passed across the nation leading to a decrease in drunk driving accidents. However, a new driving threat is quickly taking its place.|
|DrugFacts: Drugged Driving | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)||But the real problem with the proposed law is psychological.|
|Why is drugged driving dangerous?||On April 2, http: Drunk driving claimed 9, lives in and was responsible for onlyinjuries, a number that decreases each year.|
|Drunk Driving||The effects of sleep deprivation on driving performance[ edit ] Sleep deprivation has been proven to affect driving ability in four areas: It causes longer reaction times.|
Teens and Young Drivers. Young Drivers Report Highest Level of Phone Involvement in Crash or Near-Crash Incidences A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey found 20% of drivers age said texting does not affect their driving, and nearly .
Teens do not consider driving 5 to 10 miles above the speed limit to be dangerous The problem of speeding: About 27 percent of young driver and passenger deaths occur in speed-related crashes 1.
These five car problems can be dangerous if ignored. Explore Home Services Automotive Health Articles What It Costs. View Article library» Fatal flaws: five dangerous car problems you should repair immediately.
Share: By Robert Sorokanich it means your car is low on oil. Driving for more than a few miles like this can permanently. On the heels of my child’s accident I designed and am in the process of developing an app that will give parents the control over their child’s texting – this can end texting and driving.