As reported earlier, drivers would be sent to jail if caught talking on their mobile phones while driving. Now, according to a University of Utah study, drivers on cell phones tend to slow down the traffic.
The drivers who are found talking on their mobile phones drive slowly even on a freeway.
As University of Utah psychology Professor Dave Strayer, leader of the research team, remarked, “At the end of the day, the average person’s commute is longer because of that person who is on the cell phone right in front of them.”
He further added, “That SOB on the cell phone is slowing you down and making you late.”
“If you talk on the phone while you’re driving, it’s going to take you longer to get from point A to point B, and it’s going to slow down everybody else on the road,” Joel Cooper, a doctoral student in psychology explained.
According to the previous research on wireless phones and driving, even the drivers on handsfree are no less dangerous than the hand-held mobiles because the conversation is the distraction. Even when the young adults are on cell phones while driving they tend to drive slowly. However, drivers while talking on mobile phones are harmful as drunken drivers with 0.08 percent blood alcohol level which defines drunken driving.
The study made has found out the mobile phone users follow at greater distances are slower to hi the brakes and are slower to regain speed after braking.
The new study uses a PatrolSim driving simulator. Here a person sits in a front seat equipped with gas pedal, brakes, steering and displays from a Ford Crown Victoria patrol car.
The study involved 36 Universities of Utah psychology undergraduates. The students had to speak on handsfree during driving. The drivers were told to obey the 65-mph speed limit, and use turn signals. The study was made so the traffic would periodically slow in one lane and the other lane would periodically free up.
The researchers wrote, “Results indicated that, when drivers conversed on a cell phone, they made fewer lane changes, had a lower overall mean speed and a significant increase in travel time in the medium and high density driving conditions.”
Strayer continued, “If you get two or three people gumming up the system, it starts to cascade and slows everybody’s commute.”
According to Strayer its important to show how cell phone use affects traffic because, “when people have tried to do cost-benefit analyses to decide whether we should regulate cell phones, they often don’t factor in the cost to society associated with increased commute times, excess fuel used by stop-and-go traffic and increased air pollution, as well as hazards associated with drivers distracted by cell phone conversations.”
So drivers have to be more careful while driving and avoid talking on their mobile phones as it slows down the traffic and affects others.