Is Talking on the Phone While Driving as Dangerous as Driving Drunk?: Mythbusters Minimyths

In this minimyth that I have chosen, they chose two people to take the challenge and did a set of three trials: a control where they are sober and fully focused, a drive around the course while talking on their phone, and a drive around the course after having a few drinks. Each trial that the drivers went through had a similar simulation of taking a Drivers Ed test; they had to do certain tasks and they also had a driving instructor in the front that was taking notes on how each of the drivers drive the car.

In the control trial, the drivers did pretty well accomplishing the tasks. When they were driving while talking on the phone, that was when we saw potential problems. We see that there was some struggle with driving with one hand on the steering wheel while the other hand was holding the cell phone. There was also lack of concentration since the man conducting the experiment was speaking to the driver on the cellphone trying to bring some sort of distraction to the driver. With the drinking while driving trial, it was a flat out disaster; the alcohol did not help them focus on the road and their vision was impaired with the alcohol. As a result of this experiment, it showed that talking on the phone while driving is equally, if not, even more dangerous than drunk driving.

What were the strengths of the experiment? The road that the testers drove on was constant, they used the same car, there was someone in the car that conducted the experiment as a driving test, there was a control trial, there was at most a total of six trials in the experiment, and the experiment was conducted with precaution of a police enforcer during the drunk driving trial.

What were the weaknesses? They could have had more people do the experiment instead of just those two people. With having just those two people, there was a lack of random selection. However, the two participants were a male and a female. I have also noticed that both participants drank different types of alcohol instead of a similar brand. Also each person is either a heavy weight or light weight with their alcohol tolerance so that could have some factor in how the experiment is conducted.

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2 comments

  1. smontanez14 · February 17, 2015

    So after reading what you think were the weaknesses of the experiment how do you think you would change the overall experiment to make it stronger? Would you change all the weaknesses or would you change more than you mentioned? Also, what was your prediction on how talking and driving would affect the drivers? I definitely agree and think that this test and its findings should be duplicated on a larger scale to see how accurate the first test was. I also believe though that talking and driving could positively be just as dangerous as drunk driving because peoples overall concern of danger is lower than drunk driving and I wonder if peoples concern for danger could also be tested.

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  2. Pingback: Week 2 Blogging Spotlight – Topic: Research Methods | Dr. MacFarlane's General Psychology Blog

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