Driving while chatting on a hands-free cellular phone is just as dangerous as driving while holding a mobile phone, according to a study conducted by the University of Utah in the US.
Talking while driving — even while using a hands-free device — makes drivers four times more likely to have an accident, according to David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor who led the study. The study was conducted by tracking drivers' brain activity.
Strayer said chatting on a cellphone while driving cuts the brain's ability to operate a car and process information about traffic by 50 percent.
The study asked 16 pairs of friends to “drive” using a highway-driving simulator while chatting on the phone. Meanwhile, the scientists tracked the brain's activity and eye movements as a variety of situations cropped up, from a car braking suddenly to one abruptly changing lanes and disrupting the flow of traffic.
In each instance, the brain's ability to react was cut in half.
Strayer noted, however, that a telephone conversation does not have the same impact as a conversation with an adult passenger. When driving with a passenger, the driver “has an interest in driving safely. He can say ‘I should stop talking.’”
Cellphones have been outlawed for motorists in only a half-dozen US states, according to the researcher.(AFP)
1. track v.t.
追蹤 (zhui1 zong1)
例: Our teacher keeps a chart to track our progress over the year.
2. process v.t.
處理 (chu2 li3)
例: When you send in an application for a visa, sometimes it takes several weeks for your documents to be processed.
3. abruptly adv.
突然地 (tu2 ran2 di5)
例: Sarah was talking when Ralph abruptly interupted.
4. impact n.
影響 (ying2 xiang3)
例: The cold weather has had a hugely negative impact on ice cream sales.