Do you really think you can use a cell phone and drive at the same time, without losing any focus at all? If you can, you’re a very rare breed, according to a study that looked at a new way to analyze the mobile phone effect while driving.
The University of Utah psychology department analyzed the behavior of people while driving compared to how they are while driving and talking on a phone at the same time. According to the results, 97.5% of participants were unable to do both tasks with sufficient focus and safety. Most people were 20% slower with their brake reaction time, and the distance they kept between themselves and the car in front of them increased by 30%. The study took place with participants in a driving simulation machine instead of actually being on the road. So reaction time was down pretty much across the board…except for 2.5% of participants, which the researchers refer to as “supertalkers.” The authors of the study came to the conclusion that these people aren’t necessarily more intelligent, but rather have an innate “multitasking” personality. “We were excited to find this small group of people with extraordinary multitasking ability. We hope comparing them with the rest of us will help us better understand how the brain coordinates multitasking,” said one of the authord, Dr. Dave Strayer. 6 states already have firm “no cell phones while driving” laws, with 34 states banning texting while driving.