Dr.Shimul Haque from the QUT’s School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment and Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, Queensland, introduced the findings. As a major part of the study, Dr.Haque estimated the effects of cell phone distraction on safety comprising reaction time and driving performance in the CARRS – Q Advanced Driving Simulator.
“We took a team of drivers and revealed to them the virtual road network that comprises a pedestrian entering the driver’s peripheral vision from a footpath and walking across a pedestrian crossing,” says Dr.Haque. “We then supervised the performance of driver and reaction times during the hands – free and hand – held cell phone conversations and without.
“The reaction time of the drivers participating in either a hand – held or the hands – free communication was more than 40 percent longer than those not utilizing a phone. “In real terms such equation to a delayed response distance of about 11m for an automobile travelling at 40 km/hr,” say the experts.
“This reveals hands – free as well as hand – held phone conversations while driving have same sorts of detrimental effects in response to a highly common peripheral event of a pedestrian entering a crossing from the footpath.”Dr.Haque says that it was the cognitive load needed to hold a conversation that was the differing not whether or not the driver was holding a phone.
“It appears that the enhanced brain power needed to hold a phone conversation can transform a driver’s visual scanning pattern. In other terms the human brain compensates for obtaining enhanced information from a mobile phone communication by not transmitting some visual information to the working memory, resulting in a tendency to ‘look at’ but not identify objects through distracted drivers.
“The distraction of a mobile phone communication is not the same as an in – car conversation with a passenger as the non – driver can transform the dialogue based on the driving environment, for instance stop communicating when approaching an intricate driving situation.”
Dr.Haque says such raised a severe question on the suitability of mobile phone use laws while driving in Queensland that just impose a ban on hand – held cell phone se but enabled drivers to use cell phones with a hand – free device. He confirmed in addition, the research also found the reaction time of provisional licence holders was more compared to those who possess an open licence.
“Despite holders of provisional license in this study estimating a driving experience of more than two years, the detrimental effects of mobile phone distraction revealed P-plate drivers had an enhanced probability of failing a defect a pedestrian.” Dr.Haque confirms the distraction of cell phone use also had an impact on the braking behaviour of driver.
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