A new study sheds light on the risks associated with cognitive distraction while driving, which includes not only speaking on handheld devices, but also hands free, and voice-to-text.
In a time when we are more aware of the dangers of distracted driving, it may be surprising that distractions could occur in ways we may not be aware of. Technology that was designed to make driving safer may actually be making it more dangerous, according to a new study.
Reported in the journal Human Factors, a recent study has proposed a novel way of assessing cognitive distraction that occurs while driving. A set of experiments were designed to assess the association between distraction and risk of on-road crashes. A series of distractions were assessed in a driving simulator, including listening to radio, speaking on the telephone (either hands free or handheld), and voice-to-text email. The researchers developed a scale to determine minimum to maximum distraction (1-5). The study found that at the lower end of the distraction scale was listening to the radio. Conversely, at the high end of the scale was voice-to-text email.
The study sheds light on a new concern; cognitive distraction while driving. The safety issues associated with interacting with technology are a relatively new field of study, and research into associated risks should lead to information upon which to base future policies, ultimately resulting in safer drivers and safer roads.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society News Release: “On a Scale of 1 to 5, How Distracting Is Talking to Your Car? HF/E Researchers Develop a New Framework for Measuring Cognitive Distraction” Available from: https://hfes.org/web/DetailNews.aspx?ID=390 Last Accessed: December 8, 2015.
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD