April 24, 2006 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: CNN Reports: Multitasking Triples Car Crash Risk

Interesting report from CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/04/20/driving.study/index.html

Here is MSNBC’s take on the same report:

Study: Driver drowsiness big safety problem

Tired drivers are four times more likely to crash than rested motorists

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/12405053/

Hmmm… little different take.

Here’s what the NHTSA said in their press release:

Breakthrough Research on Real-World Driver Behavior Released

http://nhtsa.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/template.MAXIMIZE/menuitem.416f74e8613992381601031046108a0c/?javax.portlet.tpst=4427b997caacf504a8bdba101891ef9a_ws_MX&javax.portlet.prp_4427b997caacf504a8bdba101891ef9a_viewID=detail_view&javax.portlet.begCacheTok=token&javax.portlet.endCacheTok=token&itemID=71052f9b8559a010VgnVCM1000002c567798RCRD&viewType=standard

I thought that this quote was important:

“Drivers who engage frequently in distracting activities are more likely to be involved in an inattention-related crash or near-crash. However, drivers are often unable to predict when it is safe to look away from the road to multi-task because the situation can change abruptly leaving the driver no time to react even when looking away from the forward roadway for only a brief time.”

Here is the link to the university report about the study:

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-13/driver-distraction/PDF/DriverInattention.pdf

What lessons can we learn from all this accident data?

FIRST, sometimes you have to install monitoring devices or you won’t get real data about human performance in accidents.

SECOND, people may not be a good judge of when it is safe to multi-task. This may apply to situations other than driving cars.

THIRD, drowsiness increased the crash risk by 4-6 times but that being drowsy during accidents was probably under-reported in actual accidents (without monitoring).

Finally, imagine … These people drove while distracted and drowsy even though they knew that they were being monitored. Do you think the general population (unmonitored drivers) is even worse? Or did these drivers get so used to be monitored that they accurately reflect the general driving public?

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Accidents
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