TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Profiles in Driver Distraction: Effects of Cell Phone

Profiles in Driver Distraction: Effects of Cell Phone

Monty Solomon (
Wed, 9 Feb 2005 10:49:22 -0500

Conversations on Younger and Older Drivers

David L. Strayer and Frank A. Drews
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Our research examined the effects of hands-free cell phone
conversations on simulated driving. We found that driving performance
of both younger and older adults was influenced by cell phone
conversations. Compared with single-task (i.e., driving only)
conditions, when drivers used cell phones their reactions were 18%
slower, their following distance was 12% greater, and they took 17%
longer to recover the speed that was lost following braking. There was
also a twofold increase in the number of rear-end collisions when
drivers were conversing on a cell phone. These cellphone-induced
effects were equivalent for younger and older adults, suggesting that
older adults do not suffer a significantly greater penalty for talking
on a cell phone while driving than compared with their younger

Interestingly, the net effect of having younger drivers converse on a
cell phone was to make their average reactions equivalent to those of
older drivers who were not using a cell phone. Actual or potential
applications of this research include providing guidance for
recommendations and regulations concerning the use of mobile
technology while driving.

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