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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>