A recent study by the University of Utah finds that a small number of people are able to talk on a cell phone while driving a vehicle without being impaired. These people, deemed “supertaskers,” make up only 2.5% of the population.
The study assessed the performance of 200 participants to carry on a cell phone conversation while driving. The participants were first asked to perform a single task, simulated freeway driving. They were then asked to perform a more demanding task, carrying on a cell phone conversation while driving. During the conversation, participants were asked to memorize words and solve math problems. Their performance was measured in four areas: following distance, braking reaction time, memory, and math execution.
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Not surprisingly, most of these areas worsened while participants simultaneously drove a car. The study found that driving distances increased 30% and participants were unable to keep pace with simulated traffic. Furthermore, their brake times were 20% longer, their memory declined by 11%, and their math execution fell 3%.
There were also those “supertaskers,” who displayed no change in their following distances, braking times, memory, or math execution. Their memory abilities actually improved by 3%.
Team member of the study, James Watson, said, “Given the number of individuals who routinely talk on the phone while driving, one would have hoped that there would be a greater percentage of supertaskers.”
But, only a select few of us are so-called “supertaskers.” I know that I am certainly not one and, to be honest, I don’t know anyone who is. It is important that we, as drivers, are safe when we are behind the wheel. Only use our cell phones when it is necessary and never text while driving. A previous University of Utah study find that people who text while driving are six time more likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not.
If we pay attention to the road and not our cell phones, we could save thousands of lives.
Learn more about Distracted Driving!
Cell Phone Use Causes 1.6 Million Accidents a Year
Distracted Drivers Are Deadly Drivers
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