Cognitive Factors In Distracted Driving

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Deciding to pick up the phone, eat, talk to a passenger, or adjust the radio are only a few examples of what it means to drive distracted. Each of these actions could result in a fatality, and the statistics show that distracted driving is a grave cause for concern. In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2016). 13% of distracted driving crashes were as a result of cell phone use, killing 404 people (NHTSA, 2016). There are both cognitive and physical factors that contribute to accidents when drivers talk on their cell phones and/or text behind the wheel. The primary cognitive factor is that an individual’s attention is divided when he or she is paying attention to more than one thing at a time (Goldstein, 2011). For example, a driver’s attention is on the road and perhaps how far the car ahead of him/her is, but at the same time is also trying to read a text message on a cellular device. This divided attention reduces the reaction speed and driving performance of the driver because there are not as many cognitive resources available to focus his/her attention on the most important thing: driving. When the driver is processing…show more content…
204 participants agreed to install video cameras and sensors in their vehicles for thirty-one days in a row, while providing their phone records for analysis. The results from the study showed that driving performance is directly influenced by how well drivers visually attend to the road. This visual attention is required in order to be aware of events as they occur. When the driver is distracted by looking at and manipulating a hands-held phone, their visual attention is substantially affected (NHTSA,
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