Despite Bans on Text Messaging, Distracted Driving Still a Killer
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Phone vs. Passenger Disractions
The Harvard Mental Health Letter article supports Loiselle’s research, citing one study that found drivers (using a driving simulator) conversing by cell phone were more likely than those talking to passengers to drift between lanes and to miss an exit they were instructed in advance to take. “When the researchers analyzed the complexity of the conversations in this study, they found that drivers and passengers tended to modulate their speech in response to external traffic cues. For example, they stopped talking when a traffic problem developed, or the passenger would offer advice to help the driver navigate. Conversations taking place by cell phone, on the other hand, did not vary much in response to changing traffic conditions (perhaps no surprise, because only the driver was actually aware of what was happening on the road).”
Loiselle said the Office on Highway Safety, along with the National Safety Council, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, would support hand-free legislation in Rhode Island legislation to make using a hand held cell phone while driving illegal. Commented Loiselle, “It’s a step in the right direction.”
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