Distracted Driving and Risks

Distracted Driving and Risk of Road Crashes among Novice and Experienced Drivers

On January 2, 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine reported  a carefully carried study. The results were as expected. Next time, when you drive concentrate only on driving. Avoid other activities such as  looking out sideways, texting, using internet, reaching for the phone, using the cell phone, eating etc These activities are dangerous to different degrees.

One of the usual activities you see particularly among the young drivers in USA is eating giant sandwiches. It is a fascinating scene. Holding a sandwich containing multiple layers of delicacies along with cabbage leaves , lettuce and  tomato slices in one hand and  holding the steering wheel on the other , the car sailing along, at times  in the fast lane.

Dr.Sheila G. Klauer, of  the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and her colleagues  conducted  two studies on the relationship between the performance of secondary tasks, including cell-phone use, and the risk of crashes and near-crashes., They installed  accelerometers, cameras, global positioning systems, and other sensors in the vehicles of  42 newly licensed drivers (16.3 to 17.0 years of age) and 109 adults with more driving experience to carry out objective assessment

During the study periods, the researchers identified 167 crashes and near-crashes among novice drivers and 518 crashes and near-crashes among experienced drivers. The risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased  eight times  if they were dialing a cell phone ; reaching for a cell phone: 7.times ; sending or receiving text messages: 3.8 times ; reaching for an object other than a cell phone: 8.times; looking at a roadside object: 3.9 times; or eating: 3 times;

Among experienced drivers, dialing a cell phone was associated with a significantly increased risk of a crash or near-crash:  2.49 times; the risk associated with texting or accessing the Internet was not assessed in this population. The prevalence of high-risk attention to secondary tasks increased over time among novice drivers but not among experienced drivers.


About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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