New Study in NSC Journal of Safety Research Suggests Drivers More Distracted than They Realize
Indeed, results showed that the more difficult activity reduced driving safety more than the easier one. Yet they also showed that drivers did not recognize one activity as more difficult than the other and estimated no difference between the activities’ affect on their driving abilities. According to Horrey and his researchers, these results, combined with previous studies, suggest that drivers are not aware of their own performance loss due to distraction.
“Today it is important to understand how new in-vehicle tasks affect drivers’ performance as well as how they affect drivers’ perceptions of their own performance,” the study concludes, noting that commercial drivers frequently have to deal with other distracting activities as part of their jobs, and the high cost of crashes to employers. The study also outlines the steep costs to employers of off-the-job crashes due to distracted driving, compounded by a national increase in the length of daily commuting times.
National Safety Council President & CEO
“Our nation has reached a point where we estimate more than 100 million people are engaging in this dangerous behavior daily,” Froetscher said, adding that the issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the distraction caused by the conversation. “Hands-free devices do not make cell phones any safer. Several studies indicate that the principle risk is the cognitive distraction. Studies also show that driving while talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous and puts drivers at a four-times greater crash risk.”
To work toward improving driving safety, the JSR study calls for more research on drivers distracted by activities of different degrees of difficulty, in both laboratory and naturalistic settings.
To access the study, visit Elsevier’s Science Direct at www.sciencedirect.com and enter the title Journal of Safety Research, Volume 40, Issue 1.
The Journal of Safety Research is the pre-eminent, peer-reviewed scientific journal in the safety field. Its scholarly articles present basic and applied research in all areas of safety, including traffic, industry, farm, home, school and public.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes, communities and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
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SOURCE National Safety Council