Cell Phone Use While Driving: Does it Really Impair Our Abilities?
Whether talking on the phone impairs driving or not has been at the center of discussion since phones were made mobile. It has also been asked if talking on the phone does indeed impair driving does it impair it enough to make the driver dangerous. There are several things that must be done during this experiment on the dangers of talking on a cell phone while diving. For this experiment to be accurate, equal subjects must be tested in the same conditions and with a control. Researchers must make sure the only difference between the control group and the test group is the addition of cell phone use.
Establishing Controlled Conditions: The Key to Evaluating Cell Phone Distraction
The first part of the experiment is to make sure the driver is operating in controlled conditions. The experiment should be carried out on a closed course so that other people aren’t put in harm’s way. It is also crucial that other distractions are eliminated, such as the radio being on or other passengers within the car. If these other variables aren’t controlled, then researchers won’t be able to conclude that the cell phone is responsible for the possible impaired driving. The control tests must be done so the researchers have baseline data to compare.
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Ensuring Fair Testing: Balancing Demographics and Eliminating External Factors
The next part of the experiment would be to assign subjects to the test. The drivers should be both female and male and should be of all ages. This way, factors of impairment caused by age or experience are minimized. The subjects should also conduct the experiment on the same course, in the same car, in similar weather conditions, and at the same time of day.
The final part of the experiment is to make sure both groups are operating in fair circumstances. Driver skills may influence results, but there is a way to avoid this. Researchers should make subjects first drive under controlled conditions and then drive in the same conditions while on the phone. All of the other variables in this experiment need to be controlled so that scientist is able to determine if cell phone use impaired driving ability.
In order to test this hypothesis in a scientific manner, all of these requirements must be met. The control test must eliminate all other variables. Subjects must be chosen from a range of demographics and must be tested in the same conditions. Results will only be accurate if subjects experience the controlled course and the same course while talking on the phone. If the hypothesis is correct, another experiment should be set up.
Anderson, J.T., & Smith, L.R. (2019). Mobile Distractions: The Impact of Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance. Journal of Traffic Safety.