New Study Challenges How Dangerous Talking on the Phone While Driving Actually Is, Notes Standeffer & Harbin
Another study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reaffirms the dangers of texting and driving but questions the dangers of talking on the phone while driving.
Texting, browsing and dialing a phone number resulted in the longest amount of time distracted; drivers who were texting took their eyes off the road for an average of 23 seconds. Additionally, the risk of a car accident increased by three times when a person reached for their phone, looked up a contact, or dialed a phone number.
However, there was no increased crash risk when a driver was simply talking on the phone. Some are questioning the new data as these new findings are at odds with previous findings on how distracting talking on a cellphone while driving is. Additionally, how these devices cognitively distracted drivers could not be measured.
Visual-manual tasks are always involved when using a hand-held cellphone however even the use of hands-free devices involved visual-manual tasks about half of the time.
Young drivers were at the greatest risk of a crash or near-miss; the risks were fourfold if they were sending or receiving a text. Other distractions such as eating, looking at a roadside object, or looking for something in the car also increased their accident risk.
For the study researchers installed video cameras, global positioning systems, lane trackers, and other gadgets to measure speed and acceleration in the cars of drivers ages 16 to 17 and over 100 drivers with an average of 20 years behind the wheel.
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