Driving Distractions Are, Indeed, Distracting
from the who-knew? dept
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise (if at all), but as Slashdot points out, there are many driving distractions out there, and all can be potentially dangerous. The study found that it’s not just mobile phones, but eating or changing the radio station or even talking to others in the car. Basically, what the study found was that when there’s cognitive overload from too many tasks performed simultaneously, activities that are more core may squeeze out less developed processes. Thus, speaking and listening (which are learned at a young age) are likely to squeeze out more recently learned processes, such as driving.
While this isn’t at all surprising, what does it mean for the various attempts to legislate against driver distractions? Despite some attempts to ban distractions one by one, it’s never going to be possible to ban all driver distractions. You can’t make it illegal to talk to someone else in your car or even to change the radio station while driving (though, who knows…). The real issue shouldn’t be to focus on banning each and every driver distraction, but in educating drivers to the dangers they face with those distractions, making it clear that they need to be extra careful while engaged in any such activity, and that it’s best not to do any such thing in heavy or highly variable traffic. Yes, there will always be some folks who ignore this and assume they can drive just fine with these distractions — but those people would do the same thing even if the distractions were banned.