Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study shows hands-free cell phones dangerously distract drivers’ attention

15.11.2004


Driving with one hand on the wheel and another on a cell phone has led to legal restrictions and proposals to require drivers to use hands-free phones.



Hello?

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have tested the hands-free approach and found that drivers -- young and old -- struggled to see dangerous scenarios appearing in front of them.


The experiments, reported in the Fall 2004 issue of the journal Human Factors, were conducted in a virtual reality suite at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Eye-tracking techniques allowed researchers to see the effects of distractions. "With younger adults, everything got worse," said Arthur F. Kramer, a professor of psychology. "What we found was that both young adults and older adults tended to show deficits in performance. They made more errors in detecting important changes and they took longer to react to the changes." The impaired reactions, he said, were "in terms of seconds, not just milliseconds, which means many yards in terms of stopping distances."

For the experiment, 14 young licensed drivers (mean age 21.4) with at least one year behind the wheel and 14 older, experienced drivers (mean age 68.4) actively engaged in a casual hands-free phone conversation. As they talked, they faced a flickering 6-foot-by-3.5-foot screen on which digitally manipulated images of Chicago traffic and architecture continually changed. Each flicker, which simulated eye movements, resulted in a change of scenery that might or might not be important to a driver -- a child running into a driver’s path, a simple change in a theater sign or bright or subtle color changes.

The older adults were able to detect changes related to salience, such as colors becoming brighter. However, their ability to detect changes that should be important to a driver dipped significantly.

"For the older adults, it was quite scary in that contextual restraints no longer drove their eye-scanning strategies," Kramer said. "When they were in a conversation on a cell phone, they were no longer any faster or any more accurate in their ability to detect meaningful changes, such as a little girl running between cars in traffic, than they were able to detect changes that were not meaningful to driving safely."

Younger subjects did detect relevant changes more readily and with fewer errors than older adults, but their reaction times were slowed. "When you are driving, you often don’t have extra seconds to react," Kramer said.

In another experiment, the researchers found no significant negative impairments among participants who simply listened on hands-free phones as others carried on a conversation. The subjects were 13 young adults (mean age 20.64) and 13 older adults (mean age 67.33).

Kramer theorized that the requirement to comprehend and generate speech during a conversation results in interference with the scanning of driving scenes. Comprehension, in the absence of the need to generate coherent responses, requires fewer mental resources and, therefore, does not interfere with change detection in driving scenes.

Kramer’s team now is conducing similar experiments in a driving simulator.

The six co-authors of the research were Kramer, Jason S. McCarley and David E. Irwin, all of the U. of I. psychology department; graduate students Margaret J. Vais and Heather Pringle (now on the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.); and David L. Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>