Laboratory Study of Hands-Free Conversations in a Driving Simulator

A study conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined whether the distracting effects of having a conversation while driving diminish with practice. Thirty subjects in three age categories, who had previously used cell phones while driving, were tested in a driving simulator. To simulate the cognitive demands of a hands-free cellular phone conversation, subjects participated in discussions with an experimenter who was outside the room. Conversations involved either math computations or emotionally-involved discussions. It was concluded that driving and conversing can be distracting when both tasks are very demanding. However, even then there is evidence of learning to combine the two tasks. The actual amount of learning and its implications for actual driving remain to be determined.


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  • Accession Number: 01003473
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-043 802
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 31 2005 1:58PM