Safe Driving

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In Queensland, current driving regulations ban the use of hand-held mobile phones, but permit the use of hands-free devices. Such distinction reflects an obvious belief that the impairment to safe-driving ability that occurs when using a hand-held device is caused solely by the distraction of the associated motor and visual demands. It is not disputed that sustained driver attention is critical to safe driving (Leung, Croft, Jackson, Howard, & McKenzie, 2012), and there is compelling evidence to support the extremely degrading effects on driving caused by the distraction of conversing on a hand-held device (Strayer, Drews, and Crouch, 2006) and texting (Leung et al, 2012). However, there is equally compelling evidence to support that conversing on a hands-free device equally degrades safe-driving ability and increases the risk of collision (Strayer et al, 2006). Not all phone conversations are …show more content…
The findings demonstrated that participants took longer to brake and had more collisions when conversing on a mobile phone than when legally intoxicated. This evidences a reduced ability to detect and react to unexpected events, increasing the risk of hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle. However, the authors caution that, "in the real world there is a natural confounding of … fatigue" (p.390) - because participants were well rested the alcohol's effect may have been reduced. Further research needs to be undertaken to incorporate the likely confounding variable of fatigue. The study's use of a relatively simple naturalistic conversation also limits its generalisability, as it does not reflect the different types of conversation that occur in the real

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