Driving and Mobile Phones: Bad News?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by exwhyzee, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. exwhyzee

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    Messages:
    4,578
    Likes Received:
    36
    Gender:
    Male
    Research led by Psychology researchers at the University of Warwick reveals that mobile telephone conversations impair drivers' visual attention to such a degree that it can add over 5 metres to the braking distance of a car travelling at 60 miles and causes almost twice as many errors as drivers driving without the distraction of a mobile phone conversation.

    Dr Melina Kunar, from the University of WarwickÂ’s Department of Psychology, and Dr Todd Horowitz, from Harvard Medical School, ran a number of experiments in which the participants had to pay attention and respond (by pressing one of two keys on a keyboard) to a series of discs moving around a computer screen.

    Some of the participants carried out the task with no distraction. Others carried out the task while also using speaker phones to simultaneously engage in a normal phone conversation, discussing things such as their hobbies and interests. The researchers found that on average the reaction times of those engaging in the hands free telephone conversation were 212 milliseconds slower than those who undertook the task without the simultaneous telephone conversation. A car travelling at 60 miles an hour would travel 5.7 metres (18.7 feet) in that time so the distracting conversation would obviously increase any braking distance at that speed by the same amount. The test participants who were distracted by a phone conversation also made 83% more errors in the task than those not in phone conversations.

    The researchers also looked at the effect the hands free telephone conversations had on visual attention if the phone conversation was skewed to a more passively orientated task. To do so they asked the test participants to listen over the speaker phones to a series of words and to repeat each word in turn. The research team also looked at the effect of a much more complicated conversational task in which the test participants had to listen to a series of words and after each word then think of and say a new word which began with the last letter of the word they had just heard.

    Read more here.

    I know I try to minimize chatting on my mobile while I drive...I don't trust my ability to multitask, and I drive a stick (so I can't hold the phone and shift easily. Many of the erratic drivers I see on the road are chatting happily on their cells.

    Have you had any problems chatting and driving? Should cell phone driving be outlawed?
     
  2. Xcuze

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,979
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    In a treehouse
    It is illegal in the UK. But no-one takes any notice of it! Its too difficult to police properly. But I guess making it illegal at least makes u think twice & will stop at least some from doing it.
     
  3. D_Marazion Analdouche

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1,009
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you can afford a cell phone and plan, you can afford a basic hands free kit, even bluetooth. Problem solved and becomes no more of an issue than having a conversation with people in the vehicle with you.

    There are a lot of people that can't drive even while paying attention, adding them trying to hold a phone to their ears....

    Not too mention people that text while driving, they should be pulled overm, shot and tossed into a ditch.
     
  4. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,539
    Likes Received:
    1
    There was a thread somewhere here on lpsg where the dude posting liked to show off his cock to passing truckers on the highway.

    I supposed that activity would slow down your reaction time too.
     
  5. ManlyBanisters

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Messages:
    12,807
    Likes Received:
    8
    If you read the post and the link you'll see the test is about hands-free conversations :rolleyes:
     
  6. ZOS23xy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,073
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    directly above the center of the earth
    Not to mention I saw a man whose car was weaving slightly in and out of the lane. I passed him. I saw he was on a cell phone. It was between his shoulder and ear and he was talking with his hands. Having gotten that one second glimpse, I floored the gas.
     
  7. Xcuze

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,979
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    In a treehouse
    OK Ill try again...

    I dont see how talking on a hands-free mobile is worse than talking to passengers sitting next to you or, even worse, behind you. People are always gonna drive & talk at the same time. Doing both is part of your driving skills.
     
  8. D_Marazion Analdouche

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1,009
    Likes Received:
    0
    Did they run a side by side test regarding hands-free conversation and just talking to people in the car?

    The problem is the people driving with one hand on the phone, the other shoving super-sized fries in their face and driving with their knees.
     
  9. prepstudinsc

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    8,612
    Likes Received:
    39
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Charlotte (NC, US)
    Yesterday, I was the second car at a red-light. As soon as my light turned green, the car in front of me started into the intersection, then slammed on the brakes. I looked to see why and it was a car going across the intersection on the now red light. When I saw who it was, I started laughing because the red-light running car was my best friend who was not paying any attention, because he was talking on his phone. I called him immediately and when he answered I told him not to run red lights. He said that he didn't even notice that his light had turned red.

    My new car is equipped with Bluetooth so when I get a call, it turns the stereo off and the call comes through the car speakers. It's very nice having hands-free and all the phone (and stereo) controls are on the steering wheel. I can answer, voice dial, and do everything through the Bluetooth. It is quite handy and don't have to worry about trying to pick up the phone, find the phone, etc.
     
  10. andrexx

    Verified Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    209
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Verified:
    Photo
    I think this is questionable. For instance, I sometimes text while driving - but only when the conditions are safe, the roads are empty (which happens plenty of times where I live) and nobody else is in the car. It helps that I don't have to look at the screen, or really even put too much thought into it to type. And I don't make a conversation out of it. I don't think that deserves being shot, but then again, I never was a fan of vigilante justice.
     
  11. got_lost

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,022
    Likes Received:
    3
    I think there's little difference between the dangers of hands-free and holding the damn phone - many people can drive with one hand anyway! Especially those with an automatic transmission.

    The real distraction is a phone conversation and your mind being 'elsewhere'

    When I was working I'd drive the 3 hour drive home from the office and be on the phone the whole time. I'd get home and not be able to tell you a single thing about the journey. I'd finish one call and before I started another I'd just look out the window and wonder how the hell I got that far! I couldn't have even told you the colour of the car I'd just over taken or what speed I was going.

    There by the grace of god go I, and everyone else around me.
    Had there been an accident in front of me I'd have surely ended up in it as I would say, without a shadow of a doubt, I wasn't paying full attention to the road.


    That said, I've never been a tail-gater, which I notice is a huge thing in the US, and have always kept an extended distance for braking between me and the (assumed) twerp in front!


    To be honest, I think it's similar with passengers in the car.
    I certainly noticed a few years ago that my driving became crap when I had people in the car with me, especially if we were having an indepth conversation.
    The only benefit of a passenger over a phone conversation is the passenger can see out the front window and can shut the f**k up if it's getting a bit scary out there!
     
  12. MarkLondon

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,986
    Albums:
    4
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hey, people can't even walk the pavement properly when they're on their phone, they're so distracted from their environment. Drivers on the phone are a menace, even with hands-free.

    The big difference between a phone call and a conversation with a passenger is that the passenger knows the driving situation and when to shut up. Plus, I think the brain has to do more processing in an audio-only conversation with no visual/body language cues.

    As a child passenger I was trained to shut up at crossroads, roundabouts and complex junctions. I still do pause the coversation in such situations, though some drivers don't but I wish they would.

    After a couple of near misses as a pedestrian, if I'm on my mobile on the street I now tell people "hold on, I've got to cross the road" if I need to.

    As a cyclist I never ride when on the phone. If I get a call I pull over and stop to answer it.
     
  13. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    11,912
    Likes Received:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New York City, by way of Marblehead, Boston and Ge
    One of the few areas of disagreement I have with my bf is that he talks constantly on his mobile when he drives. Generally, he's an extremely competent driver but when he's on the phone he's totally distracted and starts making braking errors and missing lights and it makes me insane. His kids or his friends will call him to talk about absolutely nothing--I swear to god--and he'll get totally into it and completely forget what he's doing. If I call him and he's in the car I get pissed off and hang up. He's the most wonderful guy but in a car with a phone, he's a menace.

    There was one study I read that said that talking on a mobile was the equivalent to having had four drinks and that rings true to me. In New York state I think the fine is $250.00 if you're caught but frankly, I think it should be higher. It should be in Ohio. :rolleyes:
     
  14. ZOS23xy

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,073
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    directly above the center of the earth
    Because you are concentrating in a different way. A person next to you is not distracting you much. While on a cell phone, you need one hand to hold the phone--eye distraction. And concentrating on the voice, if the signal is not strong. The other hand must compensate with extra force for the loss of one hand. And the distraction factor with a cell phone is enough to make you miss signals and not brake fast enough.
     
  15. ManlyBanisters

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Messages:
    12,807
    Likes Received:
    8
    I agree with ZOS.

    Think about it. If you are watching TV with someone else, on the couch beside each other, it is very easy to have a conversation and follow what is going on on tv at the same time. No problem. If you are having a phone conversation with someone while watching TV you will find that you cannot follow the TV nearly as easily without ignoring the person on the phone or vice versa.

    You would be amazed how much of human communication is non-verbal - when speaking on the phone you are already missing a huge chunk of the communication equation and you have to concentrate that much harder.
     
  16. Riven650

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,620
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    21
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Norfolk UK
    There is a big difference. When you're driving and talking to someone on the phone, they are likely to be concentrating fully on the conversation and not really considering that you're about to negotiate a roundabout or pull out of a slip road onto a motorway at 70mph and they just keep the conversation coming at you - which does distract you. Passengers in the car with you expect you to need to stop talking and concentrate hard from time to time, and particularly if they are front seat passengers, they will often automatically stop talking to aid the driver's concentration. But passengers are a potential distraction which is why there's a sign in busses which say's 'don't talk to the driver when the vehicle is in motion'.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted