Cell Phones Not A Major Distraction

from the yes,-but... dept

Following on a similar report we had a a couple months ago, is this new study saying that mobile phones aren’t responsible for nearly as much distraction as things like fiddling with the radio. Even while I question the benefit of banning driving while yakking, I think this study is pretty misleading. It just points out that more people tend to do things like talk to a passenger, reach for something, or fiddle with the radio than to use a mobile phone. That doesn’t seem to take into account how distracting any of these actions are. Also, it doesn’t consider how much time is spent on any of these activities. Reaching for something takes a second or two. Talking on the phone goes on for a while. I’m all for more research in this area, but it needs to be better than this.

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Comments on “Cell Phones Not A Major Distraction”

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sbdwestpac says:

different issue

This reminds me of a study showing how sleep deprivation affects drivers that one of the tabloid shows (20/20?) showed a year or so ago. They showed how the drivers rammed into objects and ran over traffic cones like crazy while sleepy, but what they didn’t show was how the same drivers performed before the sleep deprivation, i.e. obtained a baseline. Some of the obstacles included a deer cutout that popped up in the road several feet in front of the car and a car cutout that suddenly pulled in front of the car, simulating a car running a red light. All of the drivers hit both items, but in both cases it was obvious that even an alert driver would have had a difficult time stopping or avoiding the object because both situations were unrealistic. By failing to show how the drivers reacted while alert the whole study was pointless.

As to the study, it only takes a second to change the radio station or turn the A/C on, but it takes longer than that to pick up a cell phone and answer it. Talking on any phone requires more concentration than normal conversation simply because it’s harder to hear.

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