A study was performed to see if the use of cellphones increases the inability to focus while behind the wheel. With the addition of earlier research, the authors of this study stated that they believe there is a direct association between cellphone use and attention. The first objective of the experiment was to use a driving simulator to recreate and elaborate on prior research; this was demonstrated in Experiment 1 (Strayer, Drews, & Johnston, 2003). In Experiment 1, the dependent variable is the driving ability of the participant which is being measured by brake onset time, brake offset time, time to reach minimum speed and following distance. The independent variable was the dual-task condition which was talking on the phone while driving the simulation car (Strayer et al. 2003). The participants in the experiment included forty undergraduates from the University of Utah. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 32, all had normal or corrected-to-normal vision and a valid Utah driver’s license. The participants began the experiment by taking a questionnaire asking them which topics they would be interested in conversing about on the cell phone. Next, they entered a driving simulation car with the instructions to follow a pace car set in front of them. Each participant drove four 10-mile lengths of a multilane highway in the simulation car. Whenever the participant braked in response to the pace car in front of them braking, the pace car released the brake and proceeded to accelerate to an average highway speed. However, if the participant neglected to brake at all, he or she would eventually run into the back of the pace car in front of them. The purpose of this was to simulate the day to day highway stop-and-go traffic that people face, typically on their commute to work. The participant was expected to react efficiently to vehicles slowing down in front of them. Half of the participants were manipulated with the dual-task condition which consisted of an individual conversing on the cell phone with the participant driver about the topic they had previously chosen on the questionnaire. The other half of drivers were considered single-task participants. In the experiment, four different
variables were being measured. Brake onset time which was defined as the interval of time between the pace car’s brake lights lighting up and the participant pressing the break. Brake offset time which was defined as the interval of time between the pace car’s brake lights turning off and the participant releasing the brake. Time to reach minimum speed which was defined as the time it took for the participant to release the brake and begin accelerating. Following distance which was defined as the distance from the rear bumper of the pace car and the front bumper of the simulation car. In addition, whether or not a collision occurred was recorded as well (Strayer et al. 2003). There was an average braking response of one second among the participants and they proceeded to keep their foot on the brake for about a half-second. Dual-task participants typically increased their following distance of the pace car. When comparing the brake onset and brake offset times of the dual-task participants and single-task participants, the dual-task participants had more of a delayed response to the pace car’s brake lights. Also, dual-task participants continued to press the brake pedal for a longer period of time than single-task drivers. One factor that was altered during the experiment was traffic density. It was found that participants were more likely to be involved in traffic accidents when they were using the cell phone if they were in high density traffic conditions (Strayer et al. 2003). It seems that the dual-task participants tried to compensate being distracted by giving themselves more room between them and the pace car to react. However, even with the extra couple meters it did not seem to make much of a difference because of how much slower their reaction time was compared to the single-task participants. The participants in this experiment who were required to talk on the phone while driving were unable to have adequate braking responses which often resulted in a collision with the pace car. This study directly correlates with most of the population today. Everyone is attached to their cell phones and cannot seem to put them down for any reason. This experiment gives sufficient evidence that phones require enough of our attention that there can be a negative effect on our driving ability. Even when the distracted driver is trying to have a good amount of space between them and the car in front they are still going to have a delayed response to situations like braking. This study also proved that there are already factors distracting drivers such as traffic which
impairs driving ability as well. Cell phones only heighten that risk of impairment, which is why everyone can benefit from hanging them up while behind the wheel. If you need portable DVD player for car, you must read this review at first.
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