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In the news: week of Nov. 10, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the media between Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 2014

Talking to Friend While Driving? May Be Safer When They See the Road, Too – U.S. News & World Report

A recent distracted driving study found that if drivers are engaged in conversation, the safest option is if the person they are talking to has his or her eyes on the road as well, either by sitting in the passenger seat or via a specially designed videophone. Although, drivers are of course safest when they don't talk and simply focus on the road.

U.S. News & World Report caught up with Paul Atchley, professor of psychology at KU, to get his opinions on the study. "The finding is that when a person who is not the driver has access to what the driver is seeing, they can use that information to inhibit themselves from being a distraction," Atchley said. "Not only by spotting the driver, but also by stopping talking when the traffic is heavy. And that's all to the better. Someone on a [regular] cellphone just can't do that.”

“But I'm always reticent to use technology to solve the problems that technology creates," Atchley added. "You don't know what kind of new issue you're going to run into. And driving a car is probably the single riskiest thing you will ever do in your life. So given that risk, why is having any kind of phone in a car at all a good thing? I think the best thing is for drivers to simply pay attention and not be distracted."

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