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Warning: don't think and drive (Forget cellphone, ban thinking while driving, next crime: TUI)
UK Telegraph ^
| July 5, 2003
| Roger Highfield
Posted on 07/14/2003 11:40:38 PM PDT by FairOpinion
Common mental tasks can cut a driver's ability to see signs, cars and traffic lights by as much as 30 per cent, accoding to a new study.
The findings underline how what is going on in a driver's head can be as important - and distracting - as a crying child in the back seat, or driving past the scene of an accident.
Some mental tasks can be so complex and distracting that they result in those all-too-familar accidents in which drivers claim they "didn't expect it" or "saw it too late," according to an article published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
Prof Luis Nunes from the Direccion General De Trafico, Spain's Public Administration for Traffic Safety, was told of several accidents in which drivers had been distracted by their thoughts.
"In Spanish accident statistics, distraction is the first factor of accident causation . . . and this is independent of other causes that also involve distraction: fatigue, drowsiness, alcohol and other drugs'', he said.
To weigh up how much internal distractions can divert drivers, Prof Nunes and Dr Miguel Goldarecena of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid studied distractions produced by the driver's own thoughts or cognitive activity unrelated to driving.
They found some common tasks produced "remarkable distractions". Examples included converting between Euros and Spanish pesetas, or a memory task in which drivers gave detailed information about where they were and what they were doing at a given day and time.
If someone is familiar with local geography when being given directions, they "are able to process and retain in your memory a more complex message with less disturbance," said Prof Nunes. "If you are foreign the same message can cause more serious difficulties.''
The distracted drivers still know how to drive, but don't see things well or fast enough to safely make use their skills. "It is easy to understand how one cannot see because of not looking," they said, "but it is less obvious to explain how one looks but does not see.''
After studying the effects of conversations, whether with a hands-free phone or a passenger, they concluded: "Complex conversations, whether by phone or with a passenger, are dangerous for road safety.''
However, Prof Nunes added that "trivial low demand conversations either inlive or by hands-free phone produced no distraction effects at all".
Although they did not test the effects of a driver being worried or fretting about something, Prof Nunes said: "In my opinion, emotional components can also contribute to increase risk.''
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cellphones; driving; thinking
BAN thinking and passengers while driving. Not to mention eating, shaving, adjusting your radio, etc.
posted on 07/14/2003 11:41:24 PM PDT
by Support Free Republic
(Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
Sorry, I meant to say DWT (Driving While Thinking)to parallel DWI (Driving While intoxicated)
No need for apologies - I've graded many a homework assignment that could serve as incriminating evidence for TUI.
I think what they really would like to ban is driving, if they could get away with it. In fact, today, as centralized governmental power continues to increase, it feels like to me, that government types would like every aspect of life, no matter how small or inconsequential, to be under some form of direct regulation.
posted on 07/15/2003 4:50:34 AM PDT
by Sam Cree
(Democrats are herd animals)
To: Sam Cree
they really would like to ban is driving, if they could get away with it.
Yup, well almost. We will be allowed cars with tiny engines that can go maybe 25MPH that will be used to get to the automated roads that will then take over. Then there will be no more fatal accidents with those evil polluting cars(except for the ones caused by the government system breaking down, but they don't count). This is another good reason to continue the 'rural cleansing', just too many miles of those new roads to build.
posted on 07/15/2003 5:01:04 AM PDT
(Frogs are for gigging)
Worst thing I ever did behind the wheel, in my younger and dumber days, was make a tuna salad sandwich on rye (with mayo and chopped celery). I actually drained the tuna out the window.
It was on a completely desolate highway in Nevada (I was driving cross country), so at least I wasn't in rush hour traffic in NYC, but it was still pretty stupid.
Nowadays I stick to peanut butter ;)
Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing a lot of activities banned while operating a car - I've been cut off, run into, and almost run off the road by idiots driving with a cell phone glued to their ear. They are obviously impaired and not aware of the full situation around them which risks them and anyone around them.
posted on 07/15/2003 7:03:06 AM PDT
For some drivers, eliminating the thought process will be very easy.
"...almost run off the road by idiots driving with a cell phone glued to their ear."
I'm with you on this. Yesterday, a woman (cell phone firmly halfway in her left ear, drove (slowly, she was concentrating on the conversation) right through a red light in front of me. I always pause before I pull out after a red light, and if I'd been one of the floor-it types, she'd have hit me solid. I don't think she was ever aware of what she'd done.
Talking on the phone involves intellectual investment...that's why it's so dangerous while you're driving.
posted on 07/15/2003 9:31:57 AM PDT
by Maria S
One of my pet peeves is drivng below the posted speed limit in the left lane. These days 9 out 10 drivers are talking on a cell phone while doing it. At least thats what I have noticed.
posted on 07/15/2003 9:35:14 AM PDT
(The Senate Armed Services Comm; the Chinese pipeline into US secrets)
To: Maria S; trebb
I think you have "the cart in front of the horse".
They should ban unsafe DRIVING and punish unsafe DRIVERS, regardless of what is causing it. As this article points out, people drive unsafely, while deeply in thought about something. Are you going to start regulating that?
It's not the cellphones that are the problem, it's the irresponsible drivers.
A lot of people can drive and chew gum, or talk on the cellphone or even think, while driving. Other responsible people, who may not be able to properly split their attention, are responsible enough to minimize their own distractions.
What people should be reminded of is that when you are driving, your first and foremost priority should be DRIVING.
To: Slings and Arrows
"I've graded many a homework assignment that could serve as incriminating evidence for TUI. "
Yes, I am sure those were very interesting homework assignments. LOL
You summarized up exactly WHY talking on cell phones should be banned!
posted on 07/15/2003 11:49:39 AM PDT
by Maria S
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