Cell Phone Drivers as Bad as Drunk Drivers

Cell Phone Driving as Bad as Drunk Driving

“impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be
as profound as those associated with driving while drunk”

A Study:

A comparison of the cell phone driver and the drunk driver

Strayer DL, Drews FA, Crouch DJ. Hum Factors 2006; 48(2): 381-91.

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, 380 South, 1530 East, RM 502,
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0251, USA.
david.strayer@utah.edu

(Copyright © 2006, Human Factors and Ergonomics
Society)

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research was to determine the
relative impairment associated with conversing on a cellular telephone
while driving.

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological evidence suggests that the relative risk
of being in a traffic accident while using a cell phone is similar to the
hazard associated with driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal
limit. The purpose of this research was to provide a direct comparison of
the driving performance of a cell phone driver and a drunk driver in a
controlled laboratory setting.

METHOD: We used a high-fidelity driving simulator to compare the
performance of cell phone drivers with drivers who were intoxicated from
ethanol (i.e., blood alcohol concentration at 0.08% weight/volume).

RESULTS: When drivers were conversing on either a handheld or
hands-free cell phone, their braking reactions were delayed and they were
involved in more traffic accidents than when they were not conversing on
a cell phone. By contrast, when drivers were intoxicated from ethanol
they exhibited a more aggressive driving style, following closer to the
vehicle immediately in front of them and applying more force while
braking.

CONCLUSION: When driving conditions and time on task were controlled
for, the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can
be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk.

APPLICATION: This research may help to provide guidance for regulation
addressing driver distraction caused by cell phone conversations

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