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Why People Drive Distracted - Essay Example

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Why People Drive Distracted
The popularity of cellular phones has often been cited as one of the main causes of driving distractions that lead to poor driving performance and higher risks of accidents. The U.S. …
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Download file to see previous pages Marketers and active users of cell phones while driving, nevertheless, can argue that drivers are also distracted by other tasks, such as eating, drinking, and looking at billboards and people should not solely blame cellular phones as the major cause of driver distractions. This essay analyzes the main causes of driver distraction and it argues that there are only several primary factors that distract drivers from focusing on driving. People drive distracted, because of attention and action given to telecommunication devices, especially cell phones, and because they tend to have an inaccurate perceptions of their management of driving distractions. The mere attention provided telecommunication devices can distract drivers from their driving tasks. When someone calls or sends a text message, even when the driver does not respond to it, he/she can already become distracted. If the driver is especially in conflict with someone or has problems, these telecommunication devices can distract them from focusing on their driving, because their mind will wander to these problems that cell phones will remind them of. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provided a contract to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2009 to study driver distractions during safety and baseline events and to understand the risks of driving while distracted. This study shows that drivers who reach for their cell phones or dial their cell phones have an odds ratio of 6.72, which means that they have 6.72 times more likely to have an accident while driving (U.S. Department of Transportation 147). Future studies can even compare having cell phones inside the car and having no cell phones inside cars and it would not be surprising to find the “presence” of cell phones alone as more distracting than having no cell phones inside automobiles. Most of high risks of driving, based on the report of the Department of Transportation, already suggest such possibility. Cell phones can truly increase risks of distraction and accidents, which is many states have banned their use while driving. Furthermore, acting on telecommunication devices can significantly distract drivers and increase their accident risks. Findings from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) emphasize that “most risky behavior identified” is “text message on cell phone,” with the corresponding “odds ratio of 23.2,” which means that drivers who send text messages were 23.2 times more likely to engage in accidents than drivers who were not text messaging (U.S. Department of Transportation 146). Why are cell phones capable of distracting drivers? Kidd and Horrey have investigated the accuracy of estimated distraction effects for drivers. Their findings show that cell phones inside the cars increase driving inattention. Smith et al. have recently finished their study, where they analyzed the impact of cell phone and text messaging on true and false recognition. True recognition pertains to remembering events or information as they actually occurred, while false recognition involves remembering information in a different way from the actual happenings or having “false memories” (Smith et al. 351). Their findings demonstrate that cell phone and text messaging decrease true recognition, which indicates that cell phones can greatly distract drivers from having accurate memories that guide good driving performance. These studies conclude that cell phones “divert” important attention that should have been focused on driving objects, because cell phones tend to direct driver's attention away from their driving. Moreover, drivers are distracted during driving, because they ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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