About the Event
The crash risk associated with cell phone use while driving is a contentious issue. In response, some states are imposing restrictions on the use of hand-held phones. However, there is ample evidence that a risk remains for hands-free phones because of the mental distraction associated with cell phone conversations. Moreover, many states are introducing Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) that may be accessed with cell phones while driving (e.g., 511 Traveler Information Services). In these contexts, relevant research is needed to determine the risk of cell phone use. One method to determine this risk is to compare the driver impairment resulting from cell phone use relative to other identified risks in the driving environment. This study compared driver performance while using a cell phone with performance while operating common in-vehicle controls (e.g., radio, fan, air conditioning) and while intoxicated (BAC 0.08). In addition, the study examined the combined effects of being distracted and being intoxicated, given that many crashes resulted from a combination of risk factors. This presentation will discuss the study process and results.