Using Cell Phones and Car Phones While Driving
Numerous studies have shown that it is not the handling of the cell or car phone that is causing the accidents, it is the factor of the conversation itself. It breaks the concentration of the driver, the same as other tasks such as listening to music or eating. When we are doing anything that keeps our minds off of the road, we are increasing the risks of an accident. Other factors such as driving experience and age have an effect.
A study that compares the measures of driving performance on-road in an instrumented car and in a simulator with two visual-scene fidelity levels (Reed & Green, Ergonomics, 1999) was done. The results showed:
- The mean lateral speed was significantly increased by the concurrent phone task.
- Implication that there is a moderate decrement in driving precision while using a phone.
- In both situations, driving precision was effected by the usage of a phone.
Other factors of influence
It may also be inferred that personal characteristics are a factor in how well one handles distractive cognitive tasks while driving. The differences between older and younger subjects show that there is another factor besides divided attention that plays a role in whether someone is able to drive precisely while performing a cognitive task.
It may be the driving experience of the person that may affect how well they could handle both. Perhaps these distractive behaviors affect individuals differently. However, the argument could be strengthened with further research.
The battle continues to go back and forth between whether using cellular and car phones cause accidents or is it the distraction of the conversation or conducting other cognitive tasks while driving.
According to a survey by the Insurance Research Council, 84 percent of cellular phone users believe that they are increasing the risk of an accident by using their cellphones while driving.
So why do it then?!