People Who Drive with Cellphones May Be Poor DriversCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 28, 2012 09:15AM
There is a probably a good chance these days that you have seen someone driving while talking on their cellphone, or are guilty of it yourself. As many people will tell you though, this is a dangerous behavior as it distracts your attention from driving safely. This is why many places have instituted bans on driving while using a cellphone, but new research suggests why these bans do not always work.
The researchers outfitted an SUV with numerous sensors, including eye trackers and cameras facing forward and backward, and asked participants to drive it without a cellphone. Some of these drivers rarely drive with cellphones and others rarely drive without cellphones. The data showed that even though no cellphones were allowed during the test, the frequent cellphone users were actually more aggressive drivers that drove faster, braked harder, and changed lanes more frequently.
These behaviors were not significant enough to say they are dangerous drivers, but these behaviors have been linked to increased rates of crashes. Even without the cellphone in-hand and on-ear, these drivers were still less safe, which means the issue is deeper than a cellphone ban can reach. Such bans can still save lives, of course, but the ultimate goal should be to change driver behavior, which is a much more difficult proposition.