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View Diary: Text someone who's driving, and you might get sued: a torts lesson (159 comments)

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  •  Talking on a phone has generally been found to be (3+ / 0-)
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    PsychoSavannah, sawgrass727, 417els

    worse than talking to a passenger, according to the research.   From your link:

    It’s all part of what scientists call cognitive load. “When we communicate with a person we can’t see, we create a mental image of them,” says sociologist Clifford Nass of Stanford University. The task occupies more available brain power than passively listening to a radio, which requires no interaction.

    The more remote the conversation, the more taxing it is. Nass says he realized this after his team told drivers in a test simulation that a voice piped into the simulator was coming from nearby in some cases and from faraway Chicago in others. Although the voice was identical, “people drove significantly worse when they thought it was from Chicago,” he says. The drivers had to fill in more context.

    That same article also has a contradictory passage:
    Since then, Strayer and his colleagues have fine-tuned understanding of just how incapacitated drivers are when on the phone. In June, Strayer’s team described monitoring 32 drivers in city traffic and asking them to listen to a radio, have a conversation with a passenger, use a hand-held phone, use a hands-free phone or operate voice-to-text technology. Compared with driving free of any distractions, radio was the least problematic, while voice-to-text was the most. The three conversations were about equally distracting and led to substantially degraded driving, marked by less scanning for potential hazards, monitoring mirrors less regularly and showing poor surveillance at pedestrian crosswalks and four-way stops. This effect occurred even though the tasks didn’t require the drivers to take their eyes off the road.

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