Cell Phone – Reason of Drivers Distraction

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Cell phone usage while driving affects the safety of those in the vehicle and around them. Legislatures plan on restricting the usage of cell, mobile, or smart phone around the world because of safety issues. The experiment provides evidence that legislation may use to inforce laws restricting farther cell phone use while driving. There have been countless research policies that have recorded that cell phone usage is tied to car crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (2015) stated that in 2013 cell phone use (dialing listening or talking) was contributed to 411 fatal and about 34,000 injured in the United States (Caird, Jeff K. 2018). It is thought to be extremely probable that these numbers are not accurate because drivers are not likely to tell an officer they were using a cell phone while during the time of the crash.

Many don’t see an issue with talking on a cell phone while driving because they compare it to speaking to a passenger. Studies done by Farmer et al.( 2015) have observed that about 15% of the time those driving are talking with a passenger (Caird, Jeff K. 2018). Passenger conversations are considered safe whereas cell phone usage is not because those who are passengers can regulate their speech to support the driver in the driving conditions such as traffic. This hypothesis only applies to some passengers because teen drivers with teen passengers also have an effect on driving safety. Therefor crash risk is associate with distraction.

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Experiments and studies have been reviewed and have under gone a Meta-analysis which combines the data from multiple studies to procedure statistical evidence. One study that was used was done by Specifically, Caird, Willness, Steel, and Scialfa (2008) and Horrey and Wickens (2006) who found that the reaction time of participants/ drivers when using a handheld or hands-free phone was much slower (Caird, Jeff K. 2018). Also these drivers did not decrease their speed or increase movement during these events. This is just one example of many experiments that have been done on driving and cell phone usage over the years, so “The purpose of the study is to update and extend previous meta-analyses of experimental studies on cell phone or passenger conversation while driving” (Caird, Jeff K, 2018, p. 103). All the studies that were compared had to measure driving performance as controlling a vehicle, simulation, or alternative task with some demonstration of the traffic environment. Second, the study design had to include a driving while-talking condition, as well as a control condition. The studies also selected had a laboratory and naturalistic/ cognitive task. The laboratory task refers to the driving task and the naturalistic refers to using a handheld/ hands free device or talking with a passenger. Drivers were asked open questions during the naturalistic conversation. Another measure that was coded was the reaction time (RT) of drivers to hazards or emergency events. In this study “RT was defined as a response with a brake pedal to an event that required a response in the traffic environment, such as a pedestrian or a car pullout event” (Caird, Jeff K, 2018, p. 105).

The earliest study was from 1991 and the latest study included was from 2015, The sample consisted of 4,383 participants with ages ranging from 14 to 84 years old (Caird, Jeff K, 2018). As a result of the comparable data of the studies and experiments in the meta analysis concluded that the use of cell phones, hands-free and handheld, showed moderate effects on reaction time to hazards or emergency events such as pedestrians or braking making collisions a greater risk. Also in terms of passenger conversation, collisions occurred more frequently while using a hands-free phone than when talking with the passenger. The cognitive effects of conversation can affect the availability of attention (Caird, Jeff K, 2018). However, the results of meta-analysis did show small effects of conversation on the centerline which suggests that conversation, neither decreases nor increases lane control. Lastly dialing had large costs for detection. The effects indicated that reactions were prolonged to targets while dialing because dialing requires a driver to divert one’s eyes from the roadway. Over all the meta- analytic results are convergent (Caird, Jeff K, 2018). In conclusion Hands-free and handheld phone conversations produce similar driving performance costs, but existing legislation only targets handheld phones.

The result of this study allows legislation to compare data of industrialized countries cell phone usage, but not the entire globe. The limitations of this study are also the large sample size ranging from 15-85 yeas old. The age of a person may have an impact on their driving ability such as young teens who just received their license and those who are older and are slowly loosing vision and hearing. Father more operational definitions may have varied in the study. Even though there are some flaws in the study the meta-analytic results suggestion for policy, legislation, countermeasures, and future research.

In conclusion after discussing the findings of these researchers, clearly cell phones are a distraction for drivers. Beede, Kristen E. (2006) conducted an experiment to measure cognitive distractions caused by cell phones while driving. The conversations in this experiment were mostly visuo-spatial, requiring participants to engage in mental imagery. This form of talk was used because it required the most cognitive means. In result drivers committed more violations when engaged in cell phone conversation than in conditions without the distraction. When drivers engage in a cognitively demanding conversation they overlook peripheral driving tasks such as monitoring speed, viewing the surroundings in and outside the car, and processing signs and object in the periphery. The dada goes in support of attempting to limit/ ban the use of cell phones (handheld and hands-free) while driving to reduce the number of accidents and traffic violations.

The study conducted by Patten, et al., (2004) looked at the amount of information processing resources used for a task, and how it affects the first (driving) and secondary (using a cell phone) task. This study explored the ability of drivers to cope with different levels of cognitive workload such as conversation complexity while using hands free and handheld cell phones. The experiment concluded that even simple conversations can distract the driver, but the more complex the conversation, the greater the negative affect on the drivers’ ability. The driver must allocate their attention between tasks while driving making the driver compromise in the quality of both tasks (Patten, Christopher J. D., L, 2004). The evidence of this data supports Beede, Kristen E. (2006) stating drivers committed more violations when engaged in cell phone conversation.

Lastly Drew et al (2008) suggested that if cell phone conversations cause distractions then so would conversations with a passenger. The critical difference between a cell phone conversation and a passenger conversation is the shared awareness of the driving environment. The passenger supports the driver by directing attention to the surrounding traffic. Both the driver and the passenger are experiencing the same surrounds where as a person on a cell phone is not, making the cell phone conversation more of a distraction when compared to a passenger.

These studies have determined that Cell phones, handheld or hands free, are a distraction to drivers because they divert attention away from the driving tasks. The difficulty of the conversation also is a factor because the more difficult the conversation the more attention is needed to attend to it this is for both handheld and hands free phones. Furthermore, when comparing the data of handheld and hands free conversations to passenger conversation it is clear that passenger conversations share awareness of the drivers surrounding suggesting that the driver and passenger both adopt driving tasks as part of a joint activity.

The meta-analysis determined dialing had large costs for recognition of hazards while driving. The effects indicated that reactions were sluggish to targets while dialing because dialing requires a driver to divert their eyes from the roadway. In conclusion Hands-free and handheld phone conversations produce similar driving performance costs, but existing legislation only targets handheld phones (Caird, Jeff K, 2018).

Finally it is clear that cell phone are a driving distraction but with technology becoming more and more prevalent in society how is legislation supposed to ban all cell phone devices from vehicles? Cell phone usage while driving affects the safety of those in the vehicle and around them. Many don’t see an issue with talking on a cell phone while driving because they compare it to speaking to a passenger, but it is clear the cell phone conversations lack the same awareness as passenger conversations.

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Cell Phone - Reason of Drivers Distraction. (2021, Oct 16). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/cell-phone-reason-of-drivers-distraction/

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