Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Rerun about distracted driving comment Feb 10, 2009

Here folks, take a moment and digest this information and use it to support the message against driving and texting/phoning. From Safety Stand Down Week.

There are four types of driving distraction:
 VISUAL – Looking for the cellphone.
 BIOMECHANICAL – Manipulating a device, such as dialing a phone number, or for those
users of PDAs, formulating an email response.
 AUDITORY – Being startled by a ringing cellphone.
 COGNITIVE – Mind not on the task, thinking about something other than driving.
 HANDS FREE cellphones reduce VISUAL and BIOMECHANICAL distractions; however, they do nothing for the other two.

More importantly, they do nothing for the COGNITIVE distraction. This being the most important task – concentrating on driving.

Why cellphone conversations are mentally demanding:
 Cellphone users visualize or create in their minds an image of the person being spoken to. This takes mental effort and undermines the cognitive work of interpreting the driving environment.
 When you are engaged in a cellphone conversation, you have to listen to the other person, think about what they are saying, and plan your response. This takes away some resources which you would otherwise have applied towards driving.
 Cellphone drivers are trapped by social etiquette that will not let them drop, discontinue, or be unresponsive in cellphone conversations.
 Social conventions and habits govern expectations of how long we pause, how we respond, vocal tones and inflections, appropriate placement and expression of non-verbal cues (uh huh, um, oh, etc.), and levels of interest and engagement expressed.
 Stressful, emotional or important conversations are even more demanding, but even the mundane conversations will remove your concentration from the task of driving.

Why cellphones increase drivers reaction time to hazards: Studies have shown that drivers engaged in cellphone conversations:
 Are four times more likely to crash than other drivers.
 Pose a risk comparable to alcohol impaired driving at 0.1 BAC – That’s above the legal limit of Canada of 0.8.
 Significantly have poorer driving performance whether measured by speed control, following distance or reaction time.

A major study has been performed by University of Utah (Psychology Professor David Strayer 2001).Results:
 Reaction time while driving and using a cellphone is worse than the reaction time when driving under the influence. (Of course, neither is acceptable practice. The difference is that only one is currently against the law).
 The driver using a cellphone has traveled 14m longer than a driver with normal reaction.
 Drivers take longer to react to the traffic signals. They are twice as likely to miss a traffic signal when they are talking on the cellphone.
 Although hands free telephones reduce manual and visual distractions, cognitive distractions are still present.Why cellphone use while driving reduces your field of view:
 Eye-movement of drivers using cellphones is reduced to tunnel vision because they are concentrating on the conversation.
 Search also found that the tunnel vision caused by cellphone use continued well after the conversation ends. Perhaps because the driver is still thinking about the conversation.
 The study found that most drivers seldom glance away from the road when talking on the cellphone. You should move your eyes every 2 seconds to avoid tunnel vision.

Responsibilities as a driver:
 Never take a phone call while driving.
 Allow passenger or voice mail box to take the message.
 In an emergency, pull well off the road to receive or send phone calls.

Added: Next time you hang up on someone calling from a mobile phone while driving and they ask why - Tell them "You don't want to hear the sound of the crash"!

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