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The Comparison Between a Drunk and Mobile Phone Drivers Essay

The Comparison Between a Drunk and Mobile Phone Drivers, 493 words essay example

Essay Topic: phone, comparison

Research conducted by Strayer et al. (2006) investigated the impairment associated with speaking on a mobile phone while driving, to provide a comparison between a drunk and mobile phone drivers driving performance in a controlled laboratory setting. The independent variable was the driving risk factor. Conditions were whether the driver was intoxicated from ethanol (i.e., blood alcohol concentration at 0.08% weight/volume), or whether they were using a mobile phone. The dependant variable was the performance of the driver which was examined by observing the reaction time with regards to breaking distance/time. The experiment involved a total of 40 participants, between the ages of 2234 years. Criteria for inclusion involved having normal or corrected vision, holding a drivers license for minimum 8 years and a habit of consuming 35 alcoholic drinks per week. Participants task was to follow an irregularly braking pace car, under three different conditions (base line (normal), intoxicated, and using a mobile phone), and brake accordingly. The results indicated drivers effected by alcohol followed at a closer distance, hit the brakes harder, and had more trials with less time to collision. Comparatively, the results demonstrated that drivers using mobile phones exhibited slower reaction times, followed from a further distance, took more time to regain speed after breaking, and were involved in more accidents. When observing the results of the mobile phone driver, the noticeable impairments, appear to be a consequence of the deviation of concentration and attention from the information processing that is required for a driver to safely operate a vehicle. (Strayer & Johnston, 2001). By critically evaluating the evidence certain strengths and limitations become evident. One strength exhibited within this study is that in the alcohol condition, the amount of alcohol given to each participant was determined subject to their body weight so they all had the same blood alcohol content (BAC), which controlled a potential variable, removing inaccuracies that could have impacted on the validity. Another strength the mobile phone condition was examined under three subsequent conditions, those being singletask baseline driving, driving using a handheld phone, and driving using a handsfree phone. The results of which showed little to no variation between the hands free, and hand held results, strengthening the study by eliminating a factor of uncertainty. Limitations of the study include a concern focussing on the age of the participants (2234 years old), which consequently disables generalisation of findings to middleaged or older adults, and by association creates other limitations such as limited driving experience, and diversity of experience with multitasking. Another limitation is that the use of simulation to examine driving performance results in identified interference, meaning the implications for real world driving could be inaccurate. However, the relevance of increased reaction time in braking with regards to vehicle operational safety is easily inferred, thus it is improbable that this limitation calls into question the validity of the results. Despite the limitations the results demonstrate clear empirical evidence in support of the thesis, that the use of mobile phone

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